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Notice to Suppliers - Fraudulent Purchase Orders purporting to be from MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Office of the VP for Finance wants to alert suppliers/vendors to a potential email ordering scam that involves requests for quotations, establishment of credit or submission of a purchase order, which purports to originate from the Institute but is in fact fraudulent.

While the Institute cannot prevent this illegal activity, we will actively work with law enforcement to investigate these fraudulent email contacts and to address fraudulent purchase orders issued in the Institute’s name should we become aware of them.

These are some common traits or themes of these fraudulent emails, which may help reduce the risk to your company from becoming a financial victim of this scam:

  • The email message is poorly written, with misspellings and awkward sentence structure 
  • The sender’s email address or website link are not the same as the Institute’s standard email address domain which is @mit.edu
  • The delivery zip code listed in the email is something other than the Institute’s regular zip code of 02139
  • The telephone number listed is something other than the Institute’s exchange. See the exchange listing.
  • The message or counterfeit purchase order requests shipment/delivery of products to a non-MIT address. Take a moment to check the address on Google maps or similar site. The Institute does not request delivery to PO boxes, apartments, business complexes or residential addresses
  • The quote requests large quantities of highly resalable items such as electronics, hard drives, memory, toner cartridges, medical or scientific items, etc.
  • The message may include an attachment that is designed to look like an official request for quote or purchase order. It may include an authentic logo or Institute watermark copied from our website or contain some other graphic designed to look legitimate.  It may also include a signature that looks legitimate representing one of our management team or buyers

Below is an example (screenshot) of a bogus email, requesting an account:

  1. Note the incorrect email address.



Below is an example (screenshot) of a bogus email, requesting a change of shipping address:

Flags for fraud:

  1. Incorrect email address (should be mit.edu)
  2. Mis-spelling of names, words, with bad formatting, typos or faulty English.
  3. Wrong shipping address, Louisiana is not an MIT location. Check with the Procurement office for the correct shipping address.
  4. Wrong phone exchange.



Below is an example of a fraudulent Purchase Order:

Flags for fraud:

  1. Mis-spelling.
  2. Wrong shipping address.

If you are not familiar with the documents being provided and/or content of an Institute purchase order or suspect fraud in any way, please contact us immediately before responding to the email or filling the order.

You may contact the Office for the VP for Finance by phone (617-253-7241) or email (procurement@mit.edu), Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. 

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members


Last Modified:

July 18, 2014

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