Police warn businesses about university identity takeover scam

The NSW Police Force Financial Crimes Squad is warning the community about an elaborate scam which has netted "at least" $1.5 million from legitimate businesses.

The scam involves people claiming to be from a tertiary education facility looking to purchase products from legitimate businesses.

Police from across NSW have received numerous reports in recent weeks relating to a scam which begins as an email or phone call, using the identity of a university, to order electrical goods or medical equipment from businesses across Australia.

The scammer uses the identity of University Procurement Services and provides instructions to deliver the products, which have included laptops and defibrillators, to a warehouse.

The business provides payment details to receive an electronic transfer and the goods are delivered; however, the money is never paid and is not able to be recovered.

Detectives from the Financial Crimes Squad have commenced an investigation and are urging the public to be vigilant when selling items to tertiary education facilities.

Financial Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett, said businesses should be wary of unsolicited emails and check the sender's details closely.

"We urge businesses to make independent inquiries with the university procurement section to check the legitimacy of the transaction," Detective Superintendent Howlett said.

"When making further inquiries, go directly to the university website and seek legitimate contact details rather than using the numbers listed in the email.

"One company has lost half a million dollars and we estimate the scam has netted at least $1.5 million from legitimate businesses."

  • If you have been the victim of a scam, you can report it to local police or to ACCC Scamwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.