Companies lost $749,000 worth of goods in purchase order scams since August

The police received at least 11 reports of purchase order scams since August.
The police received at least 11 reports of purchase order scams since August.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Scammers posing as government agencies and local universities made off with $749,000 worth of goods after duping companies into delivering them.

The police received at least 11 reports of these purchase order (PO) scams since August.

These e-mails requested quotations for electronics, IT-related items and medical devices such as automated external defibrillators and laser projectors.

After an agreement was reached, a fake PO was then sent to the company. No payment was made.

Investigations traced the delivery addresses in the POs typically to freight forwarding companies engaged by scammers to ship goods to countries such as the United Kingdom and Nigeria.

A police spokesman advised the public to verify the sender's domain name, when in doubt.

This is usually slightly different from the domain names used by government agencies and local university.

Examples include procurement@moegovt-sg.com and purchasing@nus-edu.org.

To check the authenticity of the request, companies should also contact the organisation on their official contact numbers instead of those provided in the e-mail.

 

They can also look out for indicators such as grammatical or spelling errors, and delivery addresses of private residences, freight forwarding companies or a self-storage facility.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit this website or call the Anti-Scam Hotline on 1800-722-6688.