Fake invoice scams happen when someone requests that a business pays fake invoices for a product or service that was not requested, or received.

How does the scam work?

The scammer will send an invoice for goods or services you haven’t requested, or for a fake service such as a trade directory. This could be a printed invoice that looks legitimate, or even an email that looks as it’s come from a legitimate business insisting that you’ve ordered the goods or services.

Often these scammers target the office administration or accounts functions of a business and will attempt to intimidate by threatening legal action. They may also request changes be made to the usual billing arrangements.

How can you avoid the scam?

  • Be on the lookout for invoices for goods or services that you didn’t order or a call from someone claiming to be your regular supplier.
  • Always confirm if goods or services have been requested and received before paying an invoice by using a purchase order number system or confirming with employees.
  • Limit the number of people in your business who are authorised to make orders or pay invoices.
  • If you notice a supplier’s usual bank account details have changed, call them to confirm that the invoice is legitimate.
  • Make sure you call the supplier using the phone number you have on file, or look it up on their website or in the phone book.
  • Don’t call the telephone number on the email or invoice, as this will likely be the scammers phone number.
  • Immediately cut contact with scammers who attempt to bully or intimidate you.
  • If the bank account looks like it’s an overseas bank account, or you have any suspicions about the payment details sent to you, investigate further.

If you’re unsure if something is a scam or not, call Netsafe for help and advice. Netsafe’s contact centre is open seven days a week.

Contact Netsafe

Need help or advice? Contact us.

  • Email help@netsafe.org.nz
  • Call us toll free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)
  • Online report form

Our helpline is open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on weekends.

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