December 7, 2017 2:45 pm
Updated: December 8, 2017 11:01 am

10 Calgary businesses lose $100k in post-secondary purchase order scam: police

A Calgary Police Service cruiser in front of police headquarters.

File photo/Calgary Police Service/Facebook/File photo

Calgary police are warning the public about a scam making the rounds that is estimated to have cost local businesses a total of $100,000 this year.

Investigators said the purchasing order scam had been prevalent in the United States and now appears to have crossed the border into Canada, with a total of 10 Calgary businesses affected in 2017.

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In the scam, fraudsters pretend to work for reputable post-secondary institutions and contact businesses under the guise of placing an order for a product that the business sells.

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After speaking with the company or receiving a quote for the products, the scammers will send the business a fraudulent purchase order.

The items are then shipped to a local address not associated with the actual post-secondary institution and the business does not get paid. Police say by the time the business realizes it’s a scam, the product has been shipped to a different location, and the business is unable to recover their merchandise.

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“Scammers are using real employee names and details from local Calgary post-secondary institutions to make this scam seem more legitimate,” police said in a Thursday news release. “They are also spoofing email addresses and domain names to make it seem like the communications are coming from an official source.”

According to the Calgary Police Service (CPS), fraudsters are typically attempting to order $50,000 to $100,000 worth of items on credit in each instance.

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The CPS is asking anyone who has suffered a loss as a result of this scam to call the non-emergency number at 403-266-1234. Victims can also report scam emails to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre through their website.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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