Procurement Officials Receive Warning of Fraud
On July 16, 2019, the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning about transnational fraud rings targeting procurement offices and vendors.
From the information released, this scheme involves the impersonation of procurement officials through email and fax in order to steal electronics – like laptops, phones, and hard drives. The scam specifically targets the requests for quotations (RFQs) sent to government vendors. Scammers create fraudulent RFQs that manipulate the shipping addresses for equipment that results in the shipment being delivered to abandoned commercial properties. The items are picked up and resold on the black market, leaving the vendors unpaid.
To combat these fraudulent RFQs, authorities are asking procurement officials to make phone calls to confirm authenticity before shipping any electronics. DHS is also asking officials to double check the email address indicated in the “Reply To” section of the email – they have found slight variations between this email and the legitimate email that appears in the “From” header. Another suspicious tactic to be on the lookout for is the insistence on the use of fax for all communications.
In a time where so much focus has been placed on cyber threats, it is important to still be wary of this type of fraud. Not only should electronic documents and records be safeguarded, but this incident shows that hardware devices are still at risk.