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Scam – Fraudulent Purchase Orders

Friday 12 May 2017Media release3 minutes to read

This message is for the attention of existing and potential suppliers to the Canterbury and West Coast DHBs

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

While the DHB 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 DHB but are in fact fraudulent.

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

It appears that suppliers are being instructed to ship the goods to a freight forwarder/logistics company, who are then instructed to send the goods off-shore.

Indicators of fraud

  • Incorrect domain name used to send emails and purchase orders. A valid DHB email address will always end in Hovering over the email address may reveal the originator's email address if different from that displayed.
  • The delivery address is not a DHB address. 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 DHB. If requests for quotations or purchase orders are received from a new DHB contact that raises your suspicion then please email 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 DHB.
  • Unusually large quantities are requested, and dollar amounts.
  • Rush to ship priority/overnight.

What to do if you suspect fraudulent activity

  • Email to verify the validity of the request, (please ensure you include any emails and documents you have received that relate to the enquiry).
  • The Purchasing team will respond to your email ASAP to confirm the validity of the request.
  • Please do not attempt to call any phone numbers contained within the fraudulent emails that purport to be DHB numbers as they will attract a service charge. Typically these number begin with 0843 / 0844/ 0845 / 070.

Should you wish to refer this matter to the NZ Police, contact Detective Sergeant Mike Cartwright of the Financial Crimes Unit at the Auckland Central Police Station. Detective Sergeant Cartwrights' email address is The relevant NZ Police File is 170112/1414.

What Canterbury DHB is doing

  • Liaising with affected suppliers that may be subject to this type of fraudulent activity to provide the validity of purchase orders received.
  • Requesting that domain names used for fraudulent activity are closed.
  • We have referred this matter to the New Zealand Police.

If you require further information please contact a member of the Canterbury DHB purchasing team.


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Page last updated: 3 October 2018

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