Warning over fraud scam as local business loses £40,000 of goods

Businesses are being urged to be alert to a fraud scam that is targeting existing and potential suppliers of equipment to organisations such as Bridgend County Borough Council.

It comes after a local business was defrauded out of almost £40,000 worth of goods. The scam works in the following way:

  • A supplier will receive an email or phone call requesting a quotation for specific items of equipment. These may be in large or small quantities, and of low-to-high values.
  • Once the quotation has been provided, a purchase order is emailed to the supplier that bears a resemblance to an authentic Bridgend County Borough Council purchase order, requesting the goods on a 30-day net order.
  • The purchase order typically includes delivery instructions to an address that may or may not be affiliated with the local authority.
  • After shipping the items of equipment, the supplier never receives payment, and is unable to retrieve the shipped products.

 

Bridgend County Borough Council is reminding businesses that all authentic emails from the authority will originate from a ‘@bridgend.gov.uk’ email address.

If businesses suspect that any quotation request sent by email or a subsequent purchase order may not be genuine, they can contact procurementteam@bridgend.gov.uk to double-check.

Businesses are also being warned not to call any phone numbers contained within the fraudulent emails which purport to be local authority numbers as they may incorporate expensive service charges.

Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “We are urging all businesses to be alert for fraudulent messages, and to take necessary precautions so that they are not a victim of this scam.

“In this instance, we are aware of a local company which has sadly lost a large amount of money.

“Any genuine requests for orders would not come from senior directors or the chief executive, and the local authority would never request goods to be sent anywhere outside Bridgend County Borough.

“All instances of known fraudulent activity involving the name of the council are being reported to South Wales Police and Action Fraud.

“If you have received any suspicious emails we would ask that you forward them to the council’s senior fraud investigator Simon Roberts on Simon.Roberts@bridgend.gov.uk so these can be added to the evidence file.”

For more tips on how to spot fraudulent emails and purchase orders, visit the council website.

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