Scammers are taking advantage of NSW businesses by not paying for electrical goods or medical equipment they ordered while pretending to be a university, police say.
The NSW Police Force Financial Crimes Squad said they received numerous reports relating to the elaborate scam, beginning as an email or phone call, using the identity of a university.
"The scammer uses the identity of University Procurement Services and provides instructions to deliver the products, which have included laptops and defibrillators, to a warehouse," NSW Police said.
"The business provides payment details to receive an electronic transfer and the goods are delivered; however, the money is never paid and is not able to be recovered."
Police said detectives from the Financial Crimes Squad has commenced an investigation and urged the public to be vigilant when selling items to tertiary education facilities.
Financial Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett, said businesses should be wary of unsolicited emails and check the sender's details closely.
"We urge businesses to make independent inquiries with the University procurement section to check the legitimacy of the transaction," Det Supt Howlett said.
"When making further inquiries, go directly to the University website and seek legitimate contact details rather than using the numbers listed in the email.
"One company has lost half a million dollars and we estimate the scam has netted at least $1.5 million from legitimate businesses."
If you have been the victim of a scam, you can report it to local police or to ACCC Scamwatch at: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam or by calling 1300 795 995.
Further, victims of identity theft can contact IDCARE for assistance to reduce the harm experienced from the compromise and misuse of identity information: https://www.idcare.org
To find out more information about this and similar scams or to find out other ways to protect yourself, visit https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/buying-or-selling/classified-scams