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Calgary police warn local businesses about fraudulent purchasing scam

Ten businesses in the Calgary area have reported being targeted by the scam which spoofs email addresses from post-secondary institutions

An example of the fraudulent emails being sent to local businesses.

CALGARY POLICE SERVICE / Submitted

An example of the fraudulent emails being sent to local businesses.

Calgary police warned citizens on Thursday about a purchasing order scam that has stolen approximately $100,000 from local businesses this year.

Ten businesses in the Calgary area have reported being targeted by the scam, which police said was prevalent throughout the U.S. in the last year and appears to be moving north of the border.

The scammers are using real employee names and details from local Calgary post-secondary institutions to contact businesses, and pretend to place an order for products the business sells – $50,000 to $100,000 worth of items in each instance.

Then, police said they send the business a fraudulent purchase order which has been made to look like a legitimate purchase order from the post-secondary institution.

The items are shipped by the unsuspecting business to a local address, which police said is not associated with any post-secondary institutions, and don't get paid.

By then, the product has already been shipped to a new location and the business can't recover their merchandise.

Police said the scammers are spoofing email addresses and domain names to make it seem like the communications are coming from an official source.

The service is encouraging business owners to educate their employees about the scam and how to ensure they are dealing with legitimate representatives, such as checking email addresses to ensure they are authentic and looking for poor grammar and spelling, or language that seems inconsistent with how someone in that position would speak.

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