Office supply scams (The 'Supplier Swindle')

Overview

Canadian businesses are losing significant amounts of money to fraudsters who claim to represent their regular supplier. The scam is targeting businesses that buy supplies from foreign wholesalers (e.g. China) and usually involves a spoofed email informing the buyers of a change in payment arrangements. Email spoofing refers to an email that appears to originate from one source when it was actually sent from another. The email notice provides new banking details and requests that future payments be made to this "new" account.

Warning signs - How to protect yourself

  • Beware of unsolicited emails from individuals or financial institutions presenting an urgent situation requiring immediate attention.
  • Prior to sending any funds or product, make contact with existing clients in person or by telephone to confirm that the request is legitimate.
  • Watch for spelling and formatting errors and be wary of clicking on any attachments as they can contain viruses and spyware.

Variations

Point of Sale Service Scam

Be cautious when answering a call claiming that your point of sales vendor needs to update your debit machine. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has been receiving reports from businesses stating that they are receiving calls from scammers purporting to be the company providing their point of sales services. The scammer states that their debit machine needs to be updated. Ultimately, it is not your regular point-of-sales vendor calling and it is an attempt to get you to sign up for point of sales services with the scam company. The fees will likely be much higher than with your current provider. These calls are false, deceptive and misleading marketing calls. Business owners are advised to hang up and contact their local Police Department and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to report.

Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself

  • Beware of unsolicited phone calls or emails from individuals or financial institutions presenting an urgent situation requiring immediate attention.
  • Educate employees at every level to be wary of unsolicited calls. Post notices and discuss during staff meetings.
  • Compile a list of companies that are typically used by your business, give authority to only a number of staff to approve purchases and pay bills.
  • Inspect invoices thoroughly prior to making payments to a supplier/vendor.
  • When receiving correspondence, watch for spelling and formatting errors and be wary of clicking on any attachments as they can contain viruses and spyware.

Were you a victim?

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Toll-free: 1-888-495-8501

Competition Bureau of Canada
Toll-free: 1-800-348-5358

Ontario Provincial Police
Toll-free: 1-888-310-1122

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Toll-free: 1-866-461-3222

Better Business Bureau
(BBB Locator Tool)


Fraud: Recognize, report and stop it!

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