Issued: June 2018
We want to alert you to a fraud scam that is targeting existing and potential suppliers of London Metropolitan University as well as other universities and businesses, nationally and globally.
Please take the necessary precautions so that you do not become a victim of this scam.
How the scam operates
- A supplier will receive a phone call or email requesting a quotation for goods. These may be in large or small quantities and of low to high values. The email may request confirmation of shipment to a specific location (ie London) and acceptance of 30 days' payment terms.
- Once the quotation has been provided, a purchase order is emailed to the supplier that bears resemblance to an authentic University purchase order. The purchase order typically instructs delivery to an address that may or may not be affiliated with the University.
- After sending the goods, the supplier does not receive payment and is unable to retrieve the goods.
How to identify fraudulent emails and POs
The fraudulent emails and purchase orders typically have the following characteristics:
- An incorrect email and/or telephone number – Please ensure you verify the order is valid with the University and only accept orders from nominated individuals as per your agreed contract. We advise all suppliers to consult with IT or cyber security advisers and be vigilant and informed about how to identify a suspicious communication.
- The delivery address may or may not be a University address – Fraudulent addresses will typically be a domestic residence, self-storage facility or even a genuine University address, which is later changed or re-directed.
- The email will often be poorly written with grammatical errors.
- Use of a false or unknown contact from the University – If requests for quotations or purchase orders are received from a new University contact that raises your suspicion, please contact the University’s Strategic Procurement Unit to verify the validity of the request. Please do not attempt to contact the name/number used on the email/purchase order.
- The email may use the names of the University’s Senior Management or Leadership Team or Board Member contacts. Senior managers or Board Members will never be the first point of contact in a purchasing query.
- Phone numbers not associated with the University may be used.
- Various quantities may be requested but many will be for large orders.
- Delivery timescales will be overnight and/or will be urgent.
The University’s response to the fraud
We are reporting all instances of known fraudulent activity to the Police via Action Fraud and compiling evidence for all reported incidents. We are collating evidence for all incidents.
We are contacting existing suppliers that may be subject to this type of fraudulent activity in order to raise awareness and provide basic guidance on how to deal with it.
Relevant University staff members are being made aware of all activities and given updates regarding the situation.
We are alerting potential suppliers via our website.
What to do if you suspect fraudulent activity
If you have received any suspicious emails, please contact:
London Metropolitan University
166-220 Holloway Road
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Supplier fraud” in the subject line.
You can find out more about this scam on the City of London Police website.