Calgary police warn businesses about fake e-mail purchase orders claiming to be from the U of C

File photo.
File photo. File/ The Associated Press

Calgary police are warning local businesses about fake purchase orders appearing to originate from the University of Calgary.

On Jan. 18, police said a business was contacted through e-mail for a purchase of over $13,000 worth of power tools.

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The e-mail address and the purchase order appeared legitmate to the business, so the power tools were delivered to a warehouse where a receptionist signed for the order, police said.

“When another order was made for the same tools a day after the delivery, the business called the university to confirm that the second order was not a mistake and learned that the university had not placed either of the orders,” police said in a news release Thursday.

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When the incident was reported to the police, investigators checked out the warehouse where the power tools were delivered and found an empty building.

Since the investigation began, police said two other businesses have fallen prey to this scam, with over $46,000 worth of merchandise now unaccounted for.

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Police are asking local businesses to be wary of electronic orders, especially if the e-mail address looks unusual.

“When responding to email orders from companies or institutions, look for any unusual attributes after the ‘@’ sign,” police said. “If it does not match other email addresses from that organization, then questions should be asked.”

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Police are asking anyone with information to call them at 403-266-1234 or to submit tips anonymously through Crime Stoppers online or 1-800-222-8477.

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