Purchasing Card News – November 2019

Spread the Word!

This communication was distributed to the UW-Madison Purchasing Card Site Manager list.  To ensure our users stay informed, please forward this email to your cardholders and other staff as appropriate.  We appreciate your assistance!

2019 Purchasing Card Refresher Training Deadline Approaching

As a reminder, the deadline for completing the 2019 Online Annual Purchasing Card Refresher training is November 30, 2019.  As of October 28, 2019, 59% of cardholders and 79% of site managers have met the training requirement.  Additional reminders will be communicated to remaining cardholders and site managers throughout the month.  The 2019 Purchasing Card Online Refresher Training may be accessed here.

Gift Card Scam

Multiple UW-Madison purchasing cardholders have been victims of an email scam intended to steal funds from the University in the form of gift cards.  The scammers obtain the names and email addresses of UW employees and use them to contact other employees.  These emails, which appear to come from an employee’s supervisor, request the employee purchase several hundred dollars’ worth of gift cards (e.g. Amazon, Target, Apple) and to deliver the card numbers to the scammer via email or text message.  Cardholders can identify the scam and avoid becoming a victim by noting the following:

  • First, if you receive a request from your supervisor requesting you to purchase gift cards, consider whether this is an unusual request for your supervisor to make. If so, confirm with your supervisor verbally prior to proceeding with the purchase.
  • Next, review the sender’s information. Who is the email actually from?  The sender’s email address may appear to be your supervisor’s @wisc.edu address; however, if you hover over it with your cursor, the actual email address will display.  Is it still your supervisor’s email?  Or something generic?
  • Next, review the content of the email and be on the lookout for the following:
    • Urgency: The email conveys a great sense of urgency. The scammer starts the conversation by asking if the employee is busy and if they can do them a favor.  After receiving a response from the employee, the scammer requests the gift cards, noting the cards are needed immediately.  Throughout any additional conversation, the scammer continues to use language conveying a need to purchase and deliver the gift cards as soon as possible (e.g. “Can you quickly pick them up this morning?” “Can you do that right away?” “Let me know as soon as you have them.” “Do you have the gift cards with you now?” “Just send me the codes once you have them, I was supposed to send them out already.” “Can you get this done within the hour?”
    • Secrecy: The email may request the employee keep the purchase private (e.g. “I’d want you to keep it between us…”
    • Grammatical Errors: The email contains numerous grammatical errors or unusual wording (e.g. I will like you to take pictures of each cards.”)
  • Finally, consider Policy 350 – Gift Cards, which requires Divisional Business Office approval prior to making any gift card purchase and limits the dollar value of gift cards purchased with the purchasing card to $25. This policy applies regardless of who the requestor is.

Due to the upcoming holidays, it is reasonable to anticipate an increase in scams such as this.  Please be aware and proceed with caution.

Paying an Internal Vendor

In an effort to reduce transaction processing fees charged to UW-Madison vendors, Procedure 300.2 – Purchasing Card Use & Account Management encourages cardholders to limit the use of the purchasing card when making internal payments.  The following internal vendors have recently modified their business practices to accept funding string payments from departments in lieu of the purchasing card:

Please modify business practices when making purchases to these and other UW-Madison departments.

Prohibited Vendor:  Huawei

Security concerns have been raised by U.S. federal agencies regarding the practices of the foreign company Huawei and its subsidiaries.  Based on these concerns, the University has decided to not allow any new sponsored research projects, other contracts or purchases from these vendors.  For more information and a list of subsidiaries, click here.

Purchasing Card 2020 Calendars

The 2020 Cardholder Calendar and the 2020 Site Manager Calendar are now available on the Business Services website.


If you have questions, please contact pcard@bussvc.wisc.edu.