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back to article Counterfeit vans: A little-known online grocery scam

Upscale online supermarket Ocado has alerted its customers to the hitherto unknown threat of fake delivery vans and drivers. Its "security-conscious customers", says the company in an email, can now arrange to be sent the registration number of the van and the name of the driver a few hours before the deliver is due. Fake or …

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Anonymous Coward

you are a cynical lot.

Bloody hell, a company tries to offer a useful service to its customers and all you can do is whinge.

Ocado delivery men bring the shopping into your kitchen. I imagine that if if any scam is to be conducted its around getting access to someone's car keys. I expect most people who use them get their delivery same time each week. Therefore if I were a scumbag thief who wanted to steal someone's nice merc or bmw, and to do so I needed to get access to the keys, what better way than being the ocado delivery showing up an hour early. The drivers often have an assistant so the scam gets more of you further into the house compared to a meter reader. Handy if you need to use a bit of threat and force to get the keys.

if ocado abuse the mobile number lists they collect then they will very quickly piss off their customers - a demographic you probably wouldn't want to upset.

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Data breach.....

The only way one of these "fake vans" could turn up at a particular house when they were expecting a delivery would be if somewhere in their organisation there is a leak of data. So this whole announcement sounds to me like Ocado are not certain about the security of their site or data.

It'd be a good scam actually, if someone in their warehouse got hold of a delivery schedule for a van and passed it to a "mate", who went round with the "fake van" and robbed the various houses on the route before the real van came around.

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Stop

How is this safer?

So, if you are a little paranoid about safety, perhaps being scared that the person bringing your shopping might be a little unsavory, what do you do?

You suspect they might mug you when they arrive, so you want a way of increasing safety.

Eureka! The perfect answer;

Encourage the paranoid customer to venture out of their house to accompany the suspect grocery-mongerer to the kerbside to ascertain the identity of delivery chariot!

Ignoring the questions about how somebody would know that you have ordered your shopping to arrive at a certain time....

Surely the more sensible thing to be sending to customers via SMS would be a serial number for an ID card which the official driver would be carrying - at least then it can be presented via a letterbox/chained door for checking.

Eeejits.

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Anonymous Coward

Fair do's...

..Mr.Lettice, they do state they won't use your number for marketing purposes. Personally I look forward to the day when I can actually text items to my basket as I run out of them...no more sticky notes, crappy bits of paper and being b*llocked by the wife for forgetting stuff...

And I've enjoyed the fact that I've just had to register my details including workplace, number of employees etc with y'all to post this. Will I receive any direct marketing via email? Pot, kettle, etc, etc...

So now that I have lept to your defence Ocado, please implement the text to basket(tm) idea I emailed you about ages ago and you didn't respond to...

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jim

Goods

What about getting their house in order to stop selling counterfeit goods BEFORE sorting out their vans.

Is that pile of ashes my coat....

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Dead Vulture

where did i STICK the cucumber?

cynical and somewhat amusing to consider where for a moment they will be sticking what when someone pulls this stunt

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Black Helicopters

It is of course....

.. part of an enormous right wing conspiracy spearheaded by George Bush and Microsoft, hell bent on world domination. I'd be checking the fruit and veg for bugging devices if I were you, chaps .....

The alternative concept that this might actually be a forward thinking company seeking to enhance its reputation through good customer service is of course so far fetched as to be completely ridiculous.

I've just had a thought - you dont actually allow deliveries at your actual address, do you? Its a well known fact that even the Post Office are slaves of the Illuminati, you know....

Good grief........

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Go

Cynical - el Reg???

A world without cynicism would be a sad and dismal place :) I actually prefer the cynicism, which I can easily read around, to a straight* news story. And let's face it, if Mr. Lettice wrote this article without a twist, it wouldn't make the first cut and for good reason....

But, that said, there is a reasonable need for this service - Ocado wants to reassure potential customers who are worried about home invasion scams. Other than the average customer with a beemer, two examples which spring to mind are elderly or mobility-impaired people, who likely make up a good percentage of their repeat-customer base with a regular delivery schedule and are likely to be more worried about this type of thing...

* i.e. dry**

** i.e. boring

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Anonymous Coward

Is the Real Hustle a Real Hustle?

You know, I don't think the real hustle is real. I think they plan vignets with bit part actors and extras, do the filming on the streets then just says it's real. The people being hustled are the viewers. I recall one, where a camera shot was high up in a corner of a cafe they just walked into. So how did they get the camera there, erm, and why would the cafe owner cooperate with the planting of the camera, yet not be in on it? And does nobody every press charges? Really? Never ever? Not even when they're pissed off at being delayed/hustled/made to look foolish?

I think all sorts of complicated and implausible scams are imprinted into the minds of brits, that cause them to see scams where there are none. It also provides fodder for marketing guys:

Marketing Droid #1: "how do we get Ocada into the papers today?"

Marketing Droid #2: "I know lets do what The Real Hustle does and warn them of a fake scam and launch a value added service of listing the number plate".

Marketing Droid #1: "Now for slogans, we could play on peoples fears to warn them off competing services,"

Marketing Droid #2: "How about 'Ocada the service that DOESN'T recruit bloodthirsty murdering psychopaths"

Marketing Droid #1: "Yeh that totally nails it!"

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Anonymous Coward

Fake/Stolen

So a thief will go to all the trouble of painting a van to look like an Ocado van just on the off chance of being able to nick something from a house. And if they bother to just simply steal a van, Ocado should know this and take appropriate actions at the time. This kind of thing just raises the FUD factor and combined with the general tone of TWaT (love the acronym) just makes it feel like this country is just about to be bumped off by unscrupulous dark forces.

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Anonymous Coward

You dont know what they want to do???

How about they back the truck up to your door, beat you up and steal everyhing you have into the van?? its going to look a lot less dodgy than a man in a suit (salesman fake) running from your house loading tvs into his BMW.

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Silver badge
Alien

Terrorists

They are terrorists plotting to infiltrate Middle-England via the 'nice' route. They are planning to substitute all the Ocado drivers with their own highly-trained suicide grocery delivery vans. Once inside gated communities and having done the deliveries they will remotely detonate all the loaves of bread and spuds, the vans will also go up leaving no where to run if something is suspected and honest citizens flee their homes.

At home here we are looking suspiciously at a garlic-ciabatta that we had had delivered and hadn't ordered. Will it be safe to put it in the oven? Am I conspiring to handle terrorist materials? If I recycle the millions of carrier bags at my local Tesco will they spontaneously combust?

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Silver badge

makes people more paranoid - we all suffer

So this is a threat that Ocado have "identified" (shouldn't that be "dreamed up"), presumably without ever having seen one single incident. I suppose they would say that "well, it's possible".

It seems to be to be a manipulative way to gain a USP - Unique Selling Proposition. Until of course all the other home delivery outfits latch on, so it'll only be a few weeks or months before they're all at it.

What this means is that, with absolutely no evidence that this has ever happened, their customers have now been made afraid of another way that baddies could mug/rob/con them. They've increased the overall level of fear for a small and temporary increase in their marketing reach - I hope they're proud of themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

OCADA van attack murderers

"You dont know what they want to do???"

So how common exactly are Ocado vans pulling up to houses with murdering thieves in them that break down the doors, murder you and steal the contents of your house.

I'd be worried too if I was Ocado and I knew that thieves and murderers were using vans painted in Ocado colours to attack people in their homes.

I'm horrified to hear of these attacks by supposed OCADO drivers, in OCADO vans, raiding people homes?

So I need to pay special attention whenever I see an OCADO van because it may be one of these fake OCADO labelled vans with MURDERERS inside, and BURGLARS and HOME RAIDERS.

It may not be an OCADO van at all, perhaps it's a TERRORIST VAN disguised as an OCADO van.

So perhaps OCADO = fakeVan full of TERRORISTS, MURDERERS and people who will break into your home. When they park outside you can't see the number plate, so best be sure and not order from OCADO, because they have a problem with FAKE DRIVERS who will kick your door down, tie you up, perhaps even rape you, up the bottom, and maybe kill you too, then eat your babies, steal your stuff and escape.

Don't take the risk, remember it's the OCADO vans that have the problem, and OCADO think it's so bad that they spend money on this service.

So if you have your suspicious about an OCADO van, be sure to tell your local paper about he suspicious OCADO van in your area to warn other people. Don't forget to report OCADO vans to the police whenever you see them acting suspiciously.

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Coat

And I thought....

....the scam was to remove the expensive organic contents of the fridge and replace it with Tesco Value.

.....I'll have that reassuringly expensive coat, my good man.

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It's simpler than that...

The thief gets access to the house, and will see enough to determine if it is worth breaking in, and some idea of the vunerabilities of the building.

I think it used to be referred to as "casing the joint".

The solution is to make them hand over the delivery at the doorstep.

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Silver badge

As a scam this fails on so many levels...

1. When I receive a home delivery I'm asked to verify the contents of the crates and sign off that I have received my shopping. Unless the scammers are receiving details about my order they are not going to get that right.

2. I would be alerted to the scam the moment the real delivery arrives.

On the plus side I would have 2 loads of shopping for the price of 1!!! Sounds like a win for the consumer to me.

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Anonymous Coward

WAITROSE OCADO Vans & CASING THE JOINT

"The thief gets access to the house, and will see enough to determine if it is worth breaking in, and some idea of the vunerabilities of the building."

I see, so if I see an OCADO van it may be THIEVES CASING THE JOINT to determine if there's anything worth STEALING.

They know that someone is in the house, because they have the delivery address and time. Presumably they don't have the groceries, so you'd be mighty suspicious if the OCADO van turned up without your WAITROSE groceries you'd ordered, so presumably the fake OCADO man then TIES YOU UP and STEALS your stuff immediately.

But you've seen him, you're a witness, so I guess this fake OCADO driver has to KILL you to cover his tracks. A GUNSHOT would draw attention, so presumably he (the fake OCADO driver without your WAITROSE groceries) BLUDGEONS you with a CLUB. Perhaps finishing you off with a long sharp STABBING KNIFE.

If I was WAITROSE I would be very afraid of working with OCADO since they have this problem with fake drivers. In fact I'd be very afraid to associate my brand name with a company that has this problem so bad that it has to alert people to get them to check the license plate or it's drivers. In fact I would distance myself from their PR agency too (looks like Trumpet Ltd ?? from a google search)

(What was that sound? Was it a pr stunt BACKFIRE or a the sound of GUNFIRE from a fake OCADO van without my WAITROSE groceries. Perhaps it was a marketing droid doing the honorable thing?).

Keywords: OCADO STEALING WAITROSE BURGLARS MURDERERS KILLING BLUDGEON VICTIMS fake story. MAIME RUN FOR YOUR LIVES IT'S AN OCADO VAN WITH WAITROSE GROCERIES

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Pirate

Weakening of security

It makes it easier as all the fake OCADO person now has to do is send you a text message explaining;

The van has been replaced with a knackered Ford Escort,

The drivers name will be Trevor the bruiser,

Your order has been replaced by a large iron bar!

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Film Set Alert

If the customer is only going to be LOOKING at the delivery van and its number plate, then a scammer wouldn't need an actual working van. A wooden mock-up, or maybe an inflatable would suffice, just like the British did with fake tanks to fool the Luftwaffe before D-Day.

And if the mock-up is parked down the street it need not be even the normal size - an 80% model would probably fool most people.

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Linux

A more realistic reason for it...

is that they had an SMS gateway put in for something else and someone, probably bored, thought 'hey, we can do this with it too'. Management agreed and realised they could get a bit of cheap press coverage and, hey presto, we have a new value added service!

I see it a lot with our customers where they seem to spend more time thinking up 'innovative' ways that they can use our feature set than actually what their business really needs. Having said that, it's also where some of the best ideas come from!

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DR

what's the difference

so you understand meter reading scams but can't see how this is different?

meter reading scam...

person pretends to be a meter reader to gain access to the property, then mugs little old lady in the privacy of her own home, with no-one around to see and leaves whistling and smiling, nobody bats and eyelid because it looks legit.

how's is this different from:

person pretends to be a food delivery man to gain access to the property, then mugs little old lady in the privacy of her own home, with no-one around to see and leaves whistling and smiling, nobody bats and eyelid because it looks legit.

it's just a safeguard, perhaps not a well thought out one, but neither are the ID cards that meter inspectors read. they are just limited measures to put worriers minds at rest.

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Anonymous Coward

[ocado murder] elreg is #1

Cool, if you search for [ocado murder] on Google, elReg now comes #1.

It comes #3 for [ocado van] we need to do much better there. Perhaps more discussion of Ocado van murders would do it?

Somewhere in a PR agency ... a focus group falls silent.

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Flame

Ocado Delivery Vans

I think it has already all been said, so just a few more mentions of OCADO DELIVERY VANs in close conjunction with the words MURDER RAPE PILLAGE

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Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

I always thought it went like:

Fake meter man comes to the door, you let him in, he asks you to lead him to the meter while pretending to shut the door securely, his friend lets himself in knowing full well where you are in the house because you're talking to the fake meter person, finds your jewelry and legs it.

Paris, for a necklace joke.

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Coat

Ocado van murder?

Was there an ocado van murder, how many ocado vans were involved in the murder? Where there any ocado van drivers hurt during the murder? How come it didn't say on the news that an ocado van was involved in an ocado van murder, I would have expected ocado van department to make an announcement that an ocado van was involved in a gruesome ocado van murder?

Is an ocado van murder common? and why don't ocado van departments make us aware of the ocado van murder? I can only assume an ocado van murder didnt take place and that this is an ocado van murder windup story? I think the PR Department that ocado hired for this ocado van murder made an ocado van murder pr blunder.

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Pirate

@WAITROSE OCADO Vans & CASING THE JOINT

"Perhaps it was a marketing droid doing the honorable thing?"

That would require a marketing droid to have something resembling honour.

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Black Helicopters

They use the same PR firm

as the government and they want to keep their wealthy old paranoid clientele in their houses and not out shopping, which would ruin things for them, scaring them a bit keeps them compliant and quivering in fear it's sick but I have seen it used too many times to say it doesn't work.

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Coat

OCADO

OKADO sounds very much like Al-Qaeda after I've had a few (ok, many) pints...

Mine's the one with the blood stains...

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Do Ocado drivers carry the food into the kitchen?

Sainsburys and Tescos (the only two I've tried) bring it to the doorstep - the rest of the way is my problem. A fake Tesco driver would get a view of my hall, which he could get by pretending to be a fake Jehova's Witness, AND has to leave about 40 quids worth of food for the privelege.

Bring it on!

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Bronze badge

Believe it or not, the basic idea is sound

Actually the basic idea is sound, that is to remind your more brain-dead customers that they have a delivery coming. Whoever decided to put a security spin on it should be shot, however.

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Joke

Absolutely poetic

The timing is amazing; I'd just finished reading this article and subsequent comments, when I received an email from ocado proudly announcing that their drivers will now carry your groceries directly to your kitchen... and wait for this -

"...Of course, our drivers always wipe their feet before carrying your shopping inside, but to ensure they never darken your doorstep, we've kitted out every Ocado delivery van with a big box of clean boot mitts.

So if you're particularly proud of your parquet, just ask your driver to pop on a pair, to make sure the only thing they leave behind are your groceries. ...."

obviously so that the fake, blood-thirsty psychopathic fake drivers will be leaving less DNA evidence??!!

I need to get out more.

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