The Gauteng Department of Health has cautioned suppliers to be vigilant of fraudsters masquerading as department officials looking to buy personal protective equipment (PPE).
“The department and its facilities have seen an increase in suppliers that approach it to submit their invoices for payment only to find out then that they were scammed,” departmental spokesperson Kwara Kekana said in a statement on Sunday.
The department stated that fraudsters have been taking advantage of the high demand for PPE due to the global efforts to slow down the spread of Covid-19.
It is believed that the modus operandi of these fraudsters is to send bogus Request for Quote (RFQ) forms to unsuspecting companies to procure health equipment under the guise that they are representing the Department of Health.
“They use the department’s name and corporate colours to deceive unsuspecting victims, who engage these individuals thinking they are dealing with health officials.
“Some suppliers have been vigilant enough to see through some of these scams and brought the matter to our attention, whilst others have, unfortunately, fallen victim and lost some money,” Kekana explained.
The department has cautioned suppliers to verify the authenticity of an RFQ before engaging with anybody who claims to be representing the department and before delivering goods.
“Most of these scams use incorrect contact details and email addresses, including the names of people.
“We therefore plead with suppliers to verify any RFQ authenticity with our supply chain management offices at our health institutions and central office,” she added.
The department further noted that quotations for procurement applied to items below the value of R500 000 while items above that value were advertised for a period of 21 days open to all suppliers “in good standing” to compete.
The Gauteng health department further states it cannot be held accountable for actions that result in companies or individuals falling victim to such scams.
“Anyone who suspects fraud or a suspicious RFQ using the Gauteng Department of Health name and colours, is encouraged to contact the Vuvuzela hotline 012 664 5568,” Kekana said.