Fraud Alerts

If you are ever called by a salesperson that you aren’t familiar with and asked to alter the standard purchasing process with that supplier, you need to be suspicious and deny the offer. And just as a reminder, never provide credit card, banking or personal information to anyone without being absolutely sure that it is a legitimate request and it’s a secure transmission of the information.

If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or a scam, notify Procurement Customer Service by emailing

Current Scam Directed Towards UW Suppliers

UW suppliers have been receiving numerous fraudulent emails from individuals posing as UW employees in an attempt to purchase items on behalf of the University. The perpetrators of this scheme are requesting quotes without using typical UW processes to do so and are not using a valid university email address. 

All University email addresses will end in either or It is a rare occurrence for the UW to initiate a purchase by requesting a quote through email without providing:

  • a valid UW Purchase Order Number
  • UW delivery location
  • UW department contact name and
  • phone number

Please note that:

  • Deliveries to personal residences are not allowed.
  • Most UW purchases are completed using the ARIBA network.
  • When accepting a payment method other than cash proper identification should be obtained prior to completion of sale
  • UW cannot be responsible for fraudulent orders or purchase orders.
  • If there is any doubt regarding the veracity of a purchase request, contact UW Procurement Services at 206-543-4500.
  • If a vendor accidently ships product as a result of being duped by this fraudulent scheme, they should report the incident to their local police department.

Common Examples of Fraud

Email "Phishing" Scams

  • Login scams - emails that appear to be from the UW (or your bank, etc.) with an urgent message regarding irregular activity on your account that requires you to click on a link that looks legitimate. If you click on the link, you get a fraudulent replica of the login page, designed to trick you into entering your credentials. 

    • Never respond to any message that asks you to send cash or personal information.

    • The UW will never send you links in an email asking you to login to a certain webpage.

    • If you are suspicious about an email, ask your IT professional for guidance before you take any action.

  • Wire transfers - Wire fraud schemes rely on targeted email phishing have become increasingly common and sophisticated. By finding individuals who haven’t enabled privacy features on their social media accounts and then using that publicly-available data to craft believable, fraudulent emails, criminals trick businesses into quickly sending funds by creating fake, urgent situations. Frequently, victims don’t realize they’ve been duped until they confirm the transfer of funds with a vendor or manager—when the money is already long-gone.

    • Never wire money to people you don't know, regardless of how convincing or enticing their story may be.  Even if you get a request to send a wire transfer and it's supposedly from someone you do know, confirm that's the case some other way, such as through a separate phone call.
    • If you're being pressed to make a decision or send money fast, it's probably a sign of a scam. 
    • Never give out your bank account or credit card numbers in response to an advertisement or an unsolicited call, text message or e-mail. 
  • IRS Phishing - UW employees have received unsolicited e-mails from the IRS demanding overdue payment for taxes. If you receive one, do not click on the link. Please forward any suspicious emails to


The FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule requires telemarketers to tell you it’s a sales call and who’s doing the selling before they make their pitch. They must tell you the total cost of the products or services they’re offering, any restrictions on getting or using them, and that a sale is final or non-refundable before you pay. It’s illegal for telemarketers to misrepresent any information, including facts about the goods or services being offered.

  • Really cheap toner  - Telemarketers misrepresenting themselves as printer/copier sales staff or as authorized representatives try to fulfill an order over the phone enticing the victim with better pricing for a short period of time prior to a company-wide increase in toner cartridge cost.

Best Practices

  • Beware of suspicious sounding sales pitches, offers to send you a free product to “test” or calls from unknown vendors asking to verify your address.
  • When contacted by companies claiming you owe money for goods or services you did not order, you should insist on written documentation of the purchase.
  • Do not provide procurement card information or agree to pay invoices unless you are certain you ordered the item.
  • If you receive supplies or bills for services you didn’t order, do NOT pay or return the unordered merchandise. 
  • By law, it’s illegal for a seller to send you bills or dunning notices for unordered merchandise, or ask you to return it even if the seller offers to pay for shipping.