We want to alert you to a nationwide fraud scam that is targeting vendors at universities. Because UMass values the relationship with our vendors and partners, we have prepared the below information for educational purposes and to limit instances of our vendors/partners becoming victimized by this scam.
This message is for the attention of existing and potential vendors to the University of Massachusetts.
The scam operates as follows:
Vendors receive purchase orders requesting products quotations from accounts which appear to be an email from a legitimate university address. Once the quote is provided, a fraudulent purchase order is provided to the vendor which is similar in appearance to an official university document, which may also request net 30 payment terms. The purchase order will often request delivery to an address not affiliated with the university. After shipment, payment is not rendered by the originator of the order.
Indicators of fraudulent orders:
- Incorrect domain names used to send emails and purchase orders. A valid University of Massachusetts email address will always end in a “.edu”, ex: email@example.com. Hovering over the email sender’s address will reveal the true email domain.
- The physical delivery address is not a University address. Fraudulent addresses typically utilize a home address or storage facility.
- Poorly written emails with grammatical errors.
- Use of unknown contacts at the University. University of Massachusetts Procurement Team members are located at the following web address: https://www.umassp.edu/upst/contact-us
- Phone numbers not associated with the University.
- Rushed orders.
What to do if you suspect fraud:
- Contact a member of the University of Massachusetts Procurement Team to verify the purchase order at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What the University of Massachusetts is doing:
- Instituted internal protocols to track and validate orders for the university system.
- Working with state and federal authorities to report instances of fraud.
Note: there is nothing UMass (or anyone else) can do to stop these abusive schemes. All vendors and partners need to strictly follow their own internal business processes to protect themselves.
Should you have any questions or concerns you may reach out to email@example.com.