Scam alert: International Fairs Directory
INTERNATIONAL “DIRECTORY” ALERT – DO NOT GET CAUGHT OUT!
If you exhibit in the UK or overseas, whether your company is small or large, you may hear from INTERNATIONAL FAIRS DIRECTORY (IFD), INTER-FAIRS, EXPO-GUIDE, or FAIRGUIDE or CONSTRUCT DATA.
This bogus directory and listing scam has been going on for over 25 years, and people are still getting caught by it.
You will receive an official-looking form (by email or by post). This may be preceded by a phone call asking to check your details for an exhibition listing.
The form will mention your participation in a trade show, and it will appear to have a connection with the organisers of that show. It’s marked “Urgent”, and gives a deadline for return of your company information for an advert in something which appears to be a free online exhibitor listing service or exhibition directory.
Please warn anyone in your office who opens the post or any emails (including “info@” emails) at your company about this scam . Do not complete and return any of these forms.
If you do, you are signing up to a three-year advertising contract in an “International Fairs Directory” or web listing. This will cost hundreds of Euros per year. Signing may also give IFD permission to access images on your website and download them to create “ads” for you. IFD is run by MULPOR Company S.A, of Costa Rica (or any other address they may be using). The detail of what you’re signing up for is in the very small print at the bottom of the form, or in the blurb on the reverse.
If you sign and return these forms, even if you realise your mistake and try to cancel the order, you will receive an invoice. Non-payment of this (and the other invoices which will follow) will result in persistent chasing by “debt collectors”. You should not pay, as you will not be getting the service to which they refer. Ignore any letters and invoices you may receive, and don’t get involved in any conversations on the phone.
Legal proceedings have been brought against Inter-Fairs Directory, Expo-Guide, Fairguide, Mulpor and Construct Data all over the world. Many actions have been successful… but this just results in the company springing up again under a new name and in a new jurisdiction. The latest of these is IFD/Mulpor, of Costa Rica.
Be careful to check everything thoroughly before you sign any forms! Make sure that only a Director or nominated signatory in your company can sign for and sign off any directory entries. Thousands of people and companies have been caught out, and have experienced the hassle of dealing with Expo-Guide and Fairguide/Construct Data (and now IFD).
Contact the organisers of the tradeshow you are attending to check that you are completing only legitimate forms for the exhibition in which you are participating.
If you do get caught out, you should report this to the Government’s Anti-Fraud office, Action Fraud, which is run by the City of London Police – follow this link