Information for Suppliers
How Whitsons is Protecting
Our Customers and Team Members
NOTICE TO SUPPLIERS
An active email scam involves purchase orders and requests for quotes that purport to originate from Whitsons, but are fraudulent.
While Whitsons cannot prevent this illegal activity, we want to inform the vendor community and promote awareness of such events. We are actively working with law enforcement to investigate these fraudulent email contacts. Please take precautions so that you are not a victim of this scam.
The scam operates in the following way:
According to the FBI and multiple institutions, the scam has several variations, but basically works like this:
- Fraudsters set up fraudulent websites and domain names almost identical to those of real organizations. They do this to “spoof” email accounts and also use telephone spoofing techniques to make calls appear to come from the right area code.
- Next, fraudsters—posing as organization team members—email requests for quotes for products to the targeted vendor. They use forged documents and communications, complete with official logos and team member names that may be associated with the organization.
- Later, the fraudsters email a purchase order to the vendor that resembles an authentic purchase order—oftentimes on what appears to be official letterhead and even containing the name of the organization’s procurement manager. The purchase order instructs delivery to an address not affiliated with the legitimate organization.
- After shipping the item(s), the vendor never receives payment and is unable to retrieve the shipped products.
What Can You Do?
Be vigilant in your review of purchase orders and requests for payments or services. Look out for the following characteristics of fraudulent emails:
- The email is poorly written, with misspellings, grammatical errors and awkward sentence structure.
- The sender’s email address or website link do not end in @whitsons.com (Whitsons official website/email). Hovering over the email address may reveal the sender’s email address if different from that displayed. Examples of web and email addresses used by scammers are www.whitsonsgroup.com and [email protected], but other web and/or email addresses may be used.
- The message requests shipment of products to non-Whitsons addresses.
- The telephone number is not associated with Whitsons.
- The message may include an attachment that is designed to look like an official request for quote or Whitsons purchase order. It may include an authentic logo copied from our website or contain other graphics designed to appear legitimate. It may also include a forged signature that appears to be genuine.
What To Do If You Suspect Fraudulent Activity:
- When in doubt about the legitimacy of a message, do not click on any of the links in the message, and do not take any action to fulfill the order.
- Prior to responding to the email or filling the order, you should verify its legitimacy by contacting Whitsons Purchasing at [email protected] or 631-424-2700.
- Please also forward the suspect email, along with any attachments and related documents, to [email protected].
- Notify your local law enforcement authorities of the attempted fraud against your company.
- Consider filing a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
What Whitsons is Doing:
- Contacting existing suppliers that may be subject to this type of fraudulent activity in order to raise awareness and provide basic guidance on how to deal with it.
- Requesting that domain names used for fraudulent activity are disabled.
- Reporting suspected fraudulent activity to law enforcement and compiling evidence for all reports.
- We have posted this notice to our website to help prevent current and prospective suppliers from falling prey to these scams.
We understand this may be part of a massive worldwide scam. Whitsons accepts no liability for goods shipped based on fraudulent emails, purchase order, or other documentation purporting to be from Whitsons, and will not pay invoices, damages or expenses of any supplier deceived by the fraud.
Whitsons values our partnership with you and appreciates the very important role you play in providing goods and services to our company and team members in support of their service to our clients. Please know that we are assisting to the fullest extent we are able with the investigation of this illegal activity.
The FBI has posted an alert providing details on how this fraud is perpetuated and has also produced a privacy notification, which you should review.
Published August 1, 2022