Fraudulent emails and purchase orders
The council would like to alert you to a fraud scam that is targeting existing and potential suppliers of equipment to Bridgend County Borough Council. 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 or phone call requesting a quotation for specific item/s of equipment. These may be in large or small quantities and of low to high values
- Once the quotation has been provided, a purchase order is emailed to the supplier that bears resemblance to an authentic Bridgend County Borough Council purchase order
- The purchase order typically instructs delivery to an address that is outside the county borough of Bridgend and not affiliated with the council. It also requests the goods on 30-day net terms.
- After shipping the item/s of equipment, the supplier never receives payment and is unable to retrieve the shipped goods.
Identifying fraudulent emails and purchase orders
The following will be evident in these fraudulent emails and purchase orders:
- An incorrect domain name will be used to send emails and purchase orders. Ensure you verify the order is valid with the council. All genuine emails from Bridgend County Borough Council would originate from the bridgend.gov.uk domain.
- In most cases, the delivery address will not be a genuine council address. Fraudulent addresses will typically be a domestic address or self-storage facility, often not anywhere near Bridgend council, which is usually changed with the supplier before the goods are despatched.
- Often, the email will be poorly written with grammatical, spelling or language usage errors.
- The email will quite often use names of the council’s senior management team including the Chief Executive Officer. Note that senior officers will never be the first point of contact in a purchasing query. Please contact a member of the procurement team at the council to verify the validity of any requests. Do not contact the name/number used on the email/purchase order
- The order can be for a variety of products and may be for products not normally purchased by the council.
- Various quantities may be requested but many will be for large orders
- Orders may request to ship the goods priority or overnight
If you are ever unsure about a quotation request sent by email, or the subsequent purchase order, please contact Bridgend County Borough Council’s Procurement Team or a known contact within the council. Please do not attempt to call any phone numbers contained within fraudulent emails that purport to be genuine council numbers as they may attracted a service charge.
Advice for suppliers
In addition to the above information, suppliers should note the following:
- If you are ever unsure about a quotation request sent by email, or the subsequent purchase order, please contact our procurement team or a known contact within the council
- Please do not attempt to call any phone numbers contained within the fraudulent emails that purport to be council numbers as they may attract a large, international service charge
- Consult with your own IT or security advisors to ensure all are informed on how to identify a suspicious communication
- Report the incident on Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can report fraud or cybercrime using their online reporting service at any time; the service enables suppliers to both report a fraud and find help and support. You can also get help by calling 0300 123 2040 to speak to their fraud and internet crime specialists. When you report to Action Fraud, you will receive a police crime reference number. Reports taken are passed onto the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. Action Fraud does not investigate cases and cannot advise you on the progress of a case.
What we are doing
The council is reporting all instances of known fraudulent activity to the Police and Action Fraud.
The finance and procurement team within the council have been notified of this fraudulent activity and remain vigilant. We are compiling evidence for all reported incidents.
If you have received any suspicious emails, please forward them to the council’s Senior Fraud Investigator Simon Roberts on firstname.lastname@example.org so these can be added to the evidence file.
We are contacting existing suppliers that may be subject to this type of fraudulent activity in order to raise awareness. We are also keeping all relevant council staff members aware of all activities and updates to this situation.