A new variant on an old scam is currently swindling New Zealand businesses out of goods using forged District Health Board purchase orders. The NZ Police have warned this is a similar scam to one operating earlier this year, where scammers were sending
out purchase orders that appeared to have come from local universities.
Scammers are sending suppliers emails with false addresses and forged DHB purchase orders attached requesting the purchase of various items. While the email address will look similar to a legitimate DHB, it will usually differ slightly with the use of full stops, dashes, or a slight rewording of the original name. The goods are then sent to legitimate New Zealand shipping companies with instructions to ship overseas.
Neil Wanden, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services says while MidCentral DHB hasn’t yet been targeted, vigilance is needed, especially from regular suppliers who deal with many orders a week.
“The last thing we want is one of our trusted suppliers to be caught up in the scam. Once the goods have left the country, it’s almost impossible to track and prosecute those involved. While we have strong systems in place, once an order is placed usually via email now, we need our suppliers to ensure everything is correct and has been signed correctly.
“We strongly advise any of our suppliers that if they receive an order they are unsure is legitimate, they contact us before starting to process the order.”
The NZ Police have contacted all DHBs and are also warning businesses of the scam. They are advising businesses to report anything suspicious immediately.
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945