Procurement

Scam - Fraudulent Purchase Orders

This message is for the attention of existing and potential suppliers to the University of Bath.

We want to alert you to a fraud scam that is targeting existing and potential suppliers of goods to the University of Bath, as well as other Universities and businesses in the UK. Please take the necessary precautions so that you are not a victim of this scam.

While the University of Bath cannot prevent this fraudulent activity we are supplying the Police with details to investigate the matter as we become aware of specific instances.


The fraud scam involves purchase orders and requests for product quotations that purport to originate from the University but are in fact fraudulent.

The scam operates in the following way:  the supplier will receive an email requesting a quotation for goods. Once the quotation has been provided, a purchase order is emailed to the supplier that bears resemblance to an authentic University purchase order. The purchase order typically instructs delivery to an address not affiliated with the University. After shipping the item/s, the supplier never receives payment and is unable to retrieve the shipped products.

Indicators of fraud:

  • Incorrect domain name used to send emails and purchase orders. A valid University email address will always end in @bath.ac.uk. Hovering over the email address may reveal the originator’s email address if different from that displayed.   Some examples of  incorrect domains being used are bathac.co.uk, bathac-edu.co.uk, bathac-procurement.co.uk but other domains are being used
  • The delivery address is not a University address. A genuine University purchase order will request delivery to Dept of XXXXX, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY. Fraudulent addresses will typically be a domestic residence or a self-storage facility.
  • Poorly written email with grammatical errors.
  • Use of a false or unknown contact from the University. If requests for quotations or purchase orders are received from a new University contact that raises your suspicion then please email purchasing-services@bath.ac.uk to verify the validity of the request.  Do not contact the name/number used on the email/purchase order.
  • Phone numbers not associated with the University.
  • Unusually large quantities are requested.
  • Rush to ship priority/overnight

What to do if you suspect fraudulent activity:

  • Email purchasing-services@bath.ac.uk to verify the validity of the request,. (Please ensure you include any emails and documents you have received that relate to the enquiry). 
  • Purchasing Services will respond to your email asap to confirm the validity of the request and will provide advice on the action to take if  the request is found to be fraudulent, including reporting the incident to Action Fraud as an attempted  fraud against your organisation.
  • Please do not attempt to call any phone numbers contained within the fraudulent emails that purport to be University numbers as they will attract a service charge. Typically these number begin with 0843 / 0844/ 0845 / 070.
     

What the University is doing:

  • Contacting existing suppliers that may be subject to this type of fraudulent activity in order to raise awareness and provide basic guidance on how to deal with it.
  • Requesting that domain names used for fraudulent activity are closed.
  • Reporting all instances of known fraudulent activity to Action Fraud and compiling evidence for all reported incidents.

If you require further information please  Contact a member of the University Procurement Team