Two New Zealand companies have lost "significant sums of money" after two Chinese companies fell victim to Internet hackers, New Zealand Police said Monday.
The two Auckland companies, which were not related in any way, had each placed an order with overseas suppliers in China, said a statement from the police.
Both companies have dealt with their Chinese suppliers for many years, paying deposits into international bank accounts to pay for goods they are importing into New Zealand.
In both cases, the e-mail accounts belonging to the Chinese suppliers had been hacked.
"The New Zealand businesses have received an e-mail asking them to put their usual deposit into a different bank account. When the businesses have replied via e-mail to query why they have been asked to deposit money into an account that differs from the usual one, they have received replies from the company confirming that the directions are correct," said a statement from the New Zealand Police.
"The confirmation e-mail is also a fraudulent message that has again been sent by hackers who have accessed the Chinese e-mail account."
The crime had only come to light several weeks later when the Chinese suppliers had contacted the New Zealand importers to question why they had failed to pay their deposits.
Detective Chris Blake said business owners should not be embarrassed about being overly cautious when dealing with overseas suppliers.
"Even if you've dealt with the same company for many years, don 't be afraid to phone and ring the person you always deal with if you get a request that slightly differs from your usual routine with that company," he said in the statement.