Dear Singapore’s Finest Readers and Partners,
Recently, there have been emails from individuals pretending to be government personnel seeking to purchase goods from companies, and had no intention of paying once delivery has been made. Singapore’s Finest would like to remind our readers and companies listed on our website to stay vigilant to suspicious emails that appear similar to official government website. When unsure, readers and partners should approach the respective government agency or public officer directly to confirm. The list of official contact details can be found on Singapore Government Directory.
Police Advisory on Re – Emergence of Purchase Order Scams
The police have discovered that fraudsters are being disguised as procurement employees from local colleges and government bodies. These fraudsters would lead unwary firms to supply items with payment promises in the future. Since August 2020, at least eleven reports have been received for police frauds, totalling at least $749,000 in damages.
In such a scenario, firms get emails allegedly sent by a general e-mail or a person identifying themselves as Chief Procurement Officer at local universities or government organizations, such as the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Finance (MOF). The quotes of the electronics, IT products and medical gadgets will be requested. The fraudsters would utilize e-mail with the names of these government entities’ chief procurement officers.
Examples of email addresses
- email@example.com (MOE)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (MOE)
- email@example.com (NUS)
Once a purchase order (PO) has been received, an email will be sent to the firm. The employees of the firm think that they got a legitimate e-mail and PO and would then transport the items to the delivery address stated in the office. Preliminary research showed that the delivery address in the office of such frauds was generally the property of freight forwarding businesses involved in shipping the items abroad by scammers (i.e. to UK, Gambia, and Nigeria). Ultimately, no funds were received.
Members of the public can go to www.scamalert.sg or phone the 1800-722-6688 Anti-Scam Hotline for further information about scams. Anyone with the knowledge on these frauds should phone the 1800-255-0000 Police hotline or submit online information at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
For more information, read the police advisory on re-emergence of purchase order scams here.