It’s been with us for a while, but those that use e-mails and the internet to try and extort money from hard-working business people seem to be becoming more sophisticated. There is the long-standing scam of the letter sent to all participants at a show saying that their company’s details will be published in a directory. All the wording sounds like the entry is free. All you need to do is return the signed document in the reply-paid envelope. However, what most people don’t read in very small print at the bottom of the e-mail advising of the 1200 Euro invoice that will be forwarded. There is an e-mail circulating at present asking you to buy a database of visitors for the forth-coming Speciality & Fine Food Fair. Do not purchase this database - the organisers of the show do not make their data public, nor do they sell it to other organisations. Another one, for those that have consumer web-sites is someone pretending that they have bought a hamper from another company and claiming that there was a fault with your products within the hamper. They systematically write to all the producers asking for compensation of a relatively small amount of money, but multiply this up by several £100 and someone is making a living from this. I involved the police on one occasion, who tracked the person down and a couple of police officers knocking at her door hopefully put an end to this scam. Currently I have a new scam, which I am warning you all of. I am currently being threatened with court action from someone who signed up to our e-newsletter, and as soon as he had done this requested in writing to be taken off it. Now, of course, everyone knows you can opt out of any e-mails if they are done properly, and every one of ours has an opt out box on the bottom of the mail. This lovely retired gentleman from my own home city of Manchester, is now requesting £83 for damages suffered, including a percentage of accommodating computers, maintaining hardware, installing a mail client, maintaining a broadband connection etc. etc. The whole letter is clearly available on-line somewhere for people to copy and paste and make these spurious claims. This lovely gentleman claims he is a retired surveyor, and the £83 is for 50 minutes of his time charged out at £100 an hour. I wrote back suggesting that we had no intention of paying and looked forward to seeing him in court. I doubt it will go any further, and I guess the plan is that many people will pay out, as it is a relatively low sum of money. Enjoy your week and beware the scammer!