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.

Report a scam

If you would like to report a scam so that we can add it to our database to track trends and keep other Kiwis safe please complete our online report form.

If you have lost money or personal information or think you are about to, contact us on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723) or by emailing help@netsafe.org.nz

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

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