A U.S.-based purchasing order scam has hit 10 Calgary businesses to the tune of $100,000, police are warning.

"In the scam, fraudsters pretend to work for reputable post-secondary institutions and contact businesses under the guise of placing an order for a product that business sells," Calgary police said in a release Thursday.

"The scammers send the business a fraudulent purchase order, which has been made to look like a legitimate purchase order from the post-secondary institution. The items are then shipped to a local address, not associated to a post-secondary institution, and the business does not get paid."

Fake email scam

Here's a sample email from a purchasing order scam that Calgary police are warning businesses about. (Calgary Police Service)

The scam involves real employee names, but fake email addresses and domain names. The product requests typically range from $50,000 to $100,000.

Businesses are urged to look closely at email addresses and domain names for typos, poor grammar and language in the text of the email.

"Be suspicious of high pressure tactics such as needing orders completed quickly and persistent contact looking for updates," police add.

Businesses can report suspicious emails to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre but if there are losses involved contact Calgary police directly.