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The University of Southampton
Finance, Planning and Analytics

fraudulent emails and purchase orders

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

We want to alert you to a fraud scam that is targeting existing and potential suppliers of equipment to the University of Southampton. Please take the necessary precautions so that you are not a victim of this scam.

The scam operates in the following way: A supplier will receive an email requesting a quotation for specific item(s) of equipment (often high value). The e-mail text uses the name of genuine employee, but an imitation e-mail address. If a quotation is been provided, a purchase order is emailed to the supplier that resembles 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.

How to identify fraudulent emails / purchase orders

If you are ever unsure or suspicious about a quotation request sent by email, or the subsequent purchase order, please contact the University of Southampton Procurement team -

Please do not attempt to call any phone numbers contained within the fraudulent emails as they will attract a service charge.

The University makes reports to the Police via Action Fraud when they are aware of fraud attempts. Suppliers are also encouraged to report suspicious activity to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or via their website.

If you have received any suspicious emails please forward them to, so they can be added to the evidence.

Further information

Further information about this type of crime can be found here:

Accounting Today article - 5 signs of potential procure-to-pay fraud

CSO Online - Purchase order scams targetting construction suppliers

Fraud Magazine article

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