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Companies urged to be on the alert over 'fake purchasing order' scam

Fraudsters are ordering items from suppliers under legitimate company names.

Image: Freedom_Studio via Shutterstock

GARDAÍ ARE WARNING businesses of a purchase order scam, following a spate of incidents in Cork recently.

A company in Cork (which Gardaí haven’t named) has been targeted by a series of fraudulent purchase order emails.

This is a scam whereby fraudsters attempt to order equipment from suppliers by providing them with a fake purchase order which looks almost identical to that of a known, trusted company.

Here’s how it works:

Suppliers receive emails from a fake email domain, for example @companyname.com instead of @companyname.ie, requesting a quotation for specific items of equipment.

The purchase orders look almost identical to that of the legitimate company.

Cork crime prevention officer sergeant Tony Davis said the fraudsters take information from the legitimate company’s website to make the orders look real.

The fraudulent orders are being made in large quantities, according to Davis.

The fake purchase orders ask the suppliers to deliver the items to an address in Ireland not affiliated with the legitimate company.

The suppliers do not receive payment after the items have been delivered to the address, and they cannot retrieve the shipped products.

How to identify the fraudulent emails:

  • Incorrect email domain names are being used.
  • The delivery address is not the actual address of the legitimate company in question.
  • Emails are being written with poor grammar and spelling.
  • Unusually large quantities of items are being ordered.
  • Use of a fake phone number from the company.

Davis said one company in Cork has been affected by the scam on a number of occasions over the past couple of weeks.

“We were able to close down the domain name which was hosted abroad. As of now, the domain name has been taken down. We want to highlight the fact that it’s happening,” Davis said.

Gardaí are asking suppliers who receive suspicious purchase orders to contact the company directly to verify the validity of the request.

“Do not contact that name or number used on the email,” a spokesperson for the Gardaí said.

“Please note fraudulent emails may contain seemingly legitimate contact information so it is important to look for other signs.

If you have received any suspicious emails please forward them to legitimate company and contact An Garda Síochana.

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