Bethesda, MD, April 03, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- The FBI and multiple agency Offices of Inspectors General (OIGs) are investigating fraudulent orders placed with GSA Schedule contractors. The orders were placed in the name of federal agencies, used names and emails of federal employees, but with phony phone numbers and stolen credit cards. Previously the perpetrators have targeted products that are fungible and difficult to trace. The scheme involves contacting vendors by email or phone using ‘spoofed’ email addresses or phone numbers. To date, this fraud has cost vendors more than $1.5 million.
To protect yourself, know your customer and look for warning signs:
• Customers who have never purchased from you in the past;
• Unusually large quantities or high value orders;
• Shipments to new or unusual addresses; or
• Declined credit cards and/or offer of multiple card numbers.
Scott Orbach, president of EZGSA, a Washington DC based consultant to GSA vendors, recommends taking some basic precautions:
• Know your customer;
• Use Google maps “Street View” or other tools to see what is actually at the receiving address;
• Call the phone number provided to see who answers;
• Send an e-mail to the address provided and await order confirmation;
• Record and preserve IP addresses from online orders; and
• Prior to delivering any products, confirm any suspicious orders with the agency’s and GSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
A few common sense safeguards can save you from ruinous losses.
Scott A. Orbach, is president and The GSA Schedule Guy™ at EZGSA. He is a college instructor teaching federal contracting, has over twenty years of experience in business consulting and federal contracting, and has written numerous books on federal procurement and obtaining and manageing GSA Schedules.
EZGSA, based outside Washington DC, has helped its clients grow their government sales and secure over 1600 GSA Schedules for more than twenty years. www.EZGSA.com