Online tender scam warning in South Africa

The National Department of Health has warned against “unscrupulous companies and individuals who are defrauding unsuspecting businesses, disguised as representatives of the Department”.

The scam involves fraudsters using departmental letterheads to send fake tenders to companies and request them to supply equipment and goods.

The companies targeted are asked to supply specific products to the department.

When you search for the products online, there is usually only a single company listed in South Africa which offers them.

While the company providing the products may look legitimate, it is part of the scam – and it is here where the victim loses their money.

The victim purchases and pays for the goods, and they are then told by the fake company that the products have been delivered to the Department of Health.

This is a con – the tender, the company selling the products, and the departmental officials listed in the tender documents are all fake.

The department said it has alerted law enforcement to the scam to protect legitimate businesses as well as its name.

How to spot a fake tender

The department and Carte Blanche have provided guidelines on how to spot a fake tender:

  • The contact person’s name and telephone number on the letter is not the same as the department’s listed official contact people.
  • When searching on the Internet for the address of the company that has sent the fake tender document, the address does not exist.
  • The banking details are in a private name and not a company name. Government will never ask you to deposit funds for any business transaction.
  • Check the email address of the sender. If the address contains a .org it is not from the government – government emails end in .gov.za.
  • Look out for impersonation addresses, such as:
  • Check the contact number provided on the tender letter. Government warns that although the numbers look valid, they are often not connected to a property. Call the number to check.
  • 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.

Now read: Beware of Post Office customs parcel delivery scam

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Online tender scam warning in South Africa