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Fraudulent Purchase Order Activity

March 2020
August 2017

This is a notification to the vendor community, as well as Northwestern departments and schools. We want to alert you to an active email scam involving purchase orders and request for product quotations that purport to originate from Northwestern University but are in fact fraudulent. While the University cannot prevent this illegal activity, we are actively working with law enforcement to investigate these scams. Some of the common traits or themes of these fraudulent emails, purchase orders, and invoices are as follows:

  • The email message is poorly written, with misspellings and awkward sentence structure.
  • The sender's email address and website link are similar but not authentic to Northwestern.
  • The message/Purchase Order may request shipment to a non-Northwestern address.  Alternately, the message/Purchase Order may request shipment to a Northwestern address, but a subsequent email or call may redirect the shipment to a non-Northwestern address.
  • The message may include an attachment that is designed to look like an official Northwestern Purchase Order, a logo or other graphic, and a signature.

If you believe you have received a fraudulent email, purchase order, or invoice that appears to be associated with Northwestern University, please forward it to the Procurement and Payment Services department at to verify its legitimacy before responding to the email, filling the order, or paying the invoice. Please know that we are assisting to the fullest extent possible with the investigation of this illegal activity by reporting all fraudulent emails to appropriate authorities.

Jim Konrad, Executive Director
Procurement and Payment Services
Northwestern University

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