FBI: Terrorists using fake e-mails to purchase chemicals

According to an FBI advisory, several chemical companies have received purchase orders for bulk chemicals and equipment from individuals using fraudulent e-mail accounts in an attempt to pass themselves off as university representatives.

Many of these requests have been incorrectly deemed legitimate because they contain information commonly associated with university purchase orders. Perpetrators are assuming the identity of the individual legitimately associated with the university's finance or purchasing department. The fraudulent purchase orders often include language related to "Net 30" payment terms.

Fraudulent purchase orders associated with this scheme often share other similar identifying characteristics, including:

  • E-mails originating from domains such as edu.com or edu.us, as opposed to the standard .edu reserved for use by degree granting institutes of higher education
  • The shipping address appears to be unrelated to the purported requesting university, sometimes referencing out-of-state locations. For example, a University of Middle Delaware purchase order requests that shipment be sent to an address in Illinois.

The FBI continues to monitor fraudulent purchase orders targeting chemical and scientific supply companies. The FBI respectfully requests your assistance in identifying and mitigating threats associated with this fraud scheme by reporting any similar purchase orders to your local FBI WMD Coordinator.

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