Tender scams still doing the rounds

Tender scams still doing the rounds

Over the past few years many companies have lost tens of thousands of rands due to alleged fraudulent request for quotations (RFQS) and orders, supposedly from government departments.

How does it work?
Fraudsters make use of department letterheads to send out fake tenders to businesses using fictitious RFQ forms that would seem to be from a governmental email address with a logo and contact details of the contact person.

They request these businesses to supply them with equipment and goods. Sometimes, business owners are even asked to pay a deposit to secure the tender. At first glance, everything looks above board, but upon closer inspection, you realise that all isn’t as it seems.

During the process, the ‘SCM officials’ will be in constant contact with the unsuspecting service provider until the goods are delivered either outside the building or at an agreed address. These requests are usually very urgent and the entire process is concluded within a brief period of time.

A few things to check on to spot a tender scam
While it’s difficult to determine whether the letter from the department is indeed authentic, there are other smaller details that could help you avoid a very costly mistake.

  • The situation from the first contact seems very pressurised and rushed.
  • Compare the names and contact numbers as shown on the letter to that published on the relevant department’s website. If they’re not the same, be careful. If they are the same give them a call to ensure they represent who they say they do.
  • Do a simple online search of the company name as shown on the letter. If there is a website, look up the address and call the company to confirm they do exist. 
  • Check that the banking details provided with the tender document do not belong to a private individual.
  • Government will never ask you to pay any fee to secure a tender.
  • Check the email address of the sender. If the address contains a.org it is not from the government. Look out for false email addresses like these:
  • Check the contact number provided on the tender letter. Government warns that although the numbers look valid, they are often not even connected to any property. Give the number a call to check.
  • Usually the fraudsters will also only want to deal via a cellphone number.
  • Look for the purchase or order number. Government will never send an email asking you to supply equipment and goods without a purchase or order number. While government works closely with authorities to thwart these fraudsters, it remains the responsibility of the business owner to ensure the tender is legal. Should you fall victim to a tender scam, you cannot hold the relevant department liable for your losses.

If you do receive a tender request, and you are still unsure about its legitimacy, it’s always wise to give the mentioned department a call (use the contact number as listed on the department’s website) to verify it is real.

If you know of any fraudulent tender activities please report to the Tender Fraud hotline on:
0800 701 701. Confidentiality is guaranteed.

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