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KZN police warn of tender fraud scam

A scam has resurfaced where the scammers pose as government department workers and prey on small business owners looking for tenders.

KZN police have detected a tender fraud scam that has recently resurfaced and become a trend.

They are warning business owners to be vigilant and not fall prey to the scam which first emerged in 2015. The scam, which slowed down by 2020, after previous warnings from police, has now resurfaced. By 2020, approximately 68 cases were reported.

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How it works is that fraudsters make contact with small business owners and mislead them into believing that they have been awarded tenders from government departments.

Fraudulent letterheads and email addresses are then used to request that these businesses supply a specific or unusual product.

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“To source the products, the small business owners search on the internet and identify a specific supplier who is also part of the scam,” said Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala.

“After paying an amount of cash to the alleged supplier to order the items, the victims realised that they were scammed,” added Gwala.

In a 2016 case, which occurred in Richards Bay, the complainant alleged that he received a quotation from one of the government departments requesting 100 dyroc cylinder gases. After the money was deposited to the supplier, he realised that it was a scam.

“These scammers are targeting desperate small business owners who are still cementing their feet in their industries. We are appealing to community members to be aware of these ongoing scams and verify them with the relevant government department if they receive such requests,” said Gwala.

 

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