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Police warn of forged DHB invoices scam

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/05/2017
<p>NZ police</p> © File Image

NZ police

Scammers are using forged district health board invoices to swindle New Zealand businesses out of goods, police have warned.

The tactic is similar to one that surfaced earlier in the year, when suppliers of electronic equipment were targeted with fake email addresses resembling those of well-known universities.

In the present scam, forged orders have been sent using false email addresses requesting the purchase of various items.

Detective Sergeant Michael Cartwright said the domain will look similar to the legitimate organisation, but will differ slightly with full stops, dashes or a slight rewording.

The purchase order asks companies to send the goods to a New Zealand freight company, which is then instructed to forward the goods on to an overseas address.

Police are aware of one shipment from Christchurch that has made it out of the country and is destined for Britain, but there may have been more incidents.

With the co-operation of overseas domain registering companies, police have shut down several domains.

But Det Sgt Cartwright says it appears that the scammers have now registered a domain similar to a New Zealand DHB.

"We are currently aware of three false district health board purchase orders that have been sent to separate New Zealand companies requesting goods for delivery to a freight company," he said.

Police believed all DHBs could be at risk of being targeted and that in turn could affect a large number of different businesses.

Det Sgt Cartwright advised companies that received a suspicious looking email to contact the relevant organisation first for verification.

He said poor English in the email was a common identifying factor for the scam, and the purchase orders would often have false phone numbers and email addresses.

Anyone who believed they had been targeted should contact police.

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