Overseas scammers have been using forged invoices and fake email addresses to con businesses - and the police are telling businesses to watch out.

The scam, which police first became aware of earlier in the year, was a way of swindling companies out of expensive goods.

The scammers would ask for goods to be sent to a freight company and then send them out of New Zealand while arranging for the bills to be sent to legitimate organisations.

They used the false email addresses and domain names similar to organisations such as DHBs and universities to convince businesses they were on staff there.

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Detective Sergeant Michael Cartwright said it was important to be vigilant.

"Poor English is a common identifying factor in the scam and the emails will often contain false phone numbers and email addresses."

He said the scammers would request expensive electronic equipment, such as phones and computers.

"We encourage companies to check the legitimacy of any invoice and if they receive an invoice similar to those described, they should immediately contact the relevant organisation to check its legitimacy before sending any goods."

Police encouraged anyone who received a suspicious email matching the description to contact their local police station.