ALERT: Email Scam Affecting Campus Purchasing

ALERT: Email Scam Affecting Campus Purchasing

February 18, 2014

UCLA Purchasing wants to alert the campus community about an aggressive and organized email scam involving Purchase Orders (POs) among Higher Educational institutions.

The scam involves pretending to be UCLA (or another Higher Ed institute) and placing orders with legitimate-looking POs for deliveries sent to non-university addresses. Products are shipped to off-campus locations where a fake “purchasing manager” would pick up the product personally.

While this investigation is active and ongoing, here are some common traits of fraudulent emails. Spotting these may help reduce the risk to your company from being a victim of this financial scam:

  • The email message is poorly written, with misspellings and awkward sentence structure
  • The sender's email address or website link are not the same as The University’s standard email address domain (@ucla.edu)
  • The message requests shipment/delivery of products to a non-University of California address.  Take a moment to verify the address in Google Maps. UCLA does not request delivery to apartments, mobile home parks, business complexes or residential addresses.
  • The quote requests large quantities of highly resalable items such as electronics, hard drives, memory, toner, medical items, etc.

Examples of Fraudulent email address domains:

  • @ucla.org
  • @uclosangeles.org
  • @ucla.net
  • @ucla.com

The fraudulent message may include an attachment that is designed to look like an official request for quote or purchase order. It may include an authentic logo copied from our website or contain some other graphic designed to look legitimate. It may even include a signature that appears to be genuine.

If you are not familiar with the form and/or content of a UCLA Purchase Order or suspect fraud in any way, please contact us immediately by forwarding the message to Purchasing@finance.ucla.edu to verify its legitimacy before responding to the email or filling the order.

For more details about email scams related to university purchasing, please see the links under Related Information.