How To Deal With Government Contract Scammers
You are new to the government contracting industry and someone sent you an email saying they have a contract for you, what do you do? It may sound exciting but you should watch out for Government Contract Scammers.
Oftentimes, people don’t ever think this could happen to them but let me tell you this, It happened to me! Someone sent an email directly to me, claiming they have a contract to offer.
It also happened to one of our very own GovCon Giant, Dionne. Dionne Almost Got Scammed Out of $90K. That’s ninety thousand dollars! So, Yes. it’s real and it’s happening.
This has been happening to tens of thousands of people out there, and I want to raise awareness and hopefully, save people from falling for this scam.
HOW SCAMMERS DO IT
What usually happens is that these scammers will send you emails, presenting themselves as contracting people, offering you a contract opportunity.
To give you a more specific example, here’s a portion of Dione’s email to me, narrating what had happened:
“I received what looked like a legit RFQ from Dr. John Farrell at the US Arctic Research Commission. Since that didn’t sound like a real agency, I looked it up. Turns out Dr. John Farrell was the Ex-Director and I placed my bid. Someone (claiming to be Dr. Farrell) called me to let me know he’d sent a PO.”
Dione actually began the process of getting $90,000+ worth of electronics together. When the first of the orders arrived at the destination specified on the PO, to Dione’s surprise, the recipient had no knowledge of the purchase. She eventually got a call from an FBI agent saying that it was all a scam.
This is the dark side of the government contracting world that I want you to know about because no one seems to be talking about it.
HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED
If you haven’t done anything that would result in a contract offer or opportunity via email, like registered your name on a specific list, attended an industry event, and the like, you have to be very cautious.
No one is reaching out to you to give unsolicited contracts unless you’ve done something to make them do so.
Although it could be a legitimate contract opportunity, you should treat these types of emails as a possible scam. To avoid being scammed, follow these steps:
1. Make Sure The Email Checks Out
When you click reply all, make sure the email checks out. The email contents, usually, mention the other person’s name and contact details, such as email address and contact number. So, you should double-check, whether the email address matches.
Sometimes these scammers are very wise because they follow the contracting person’s real email but add one or two symbols or numbers to it, and it could be easily overlooked.
For example, if the legitimate email address is email@example.com, the scammer will follow the email address but add 1 to it, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, it’s important to note that some of these scammers claim that they are small business specialists, and you should know that small business specialists don’t email people contracts. They never do that! So, that in itself is a red flag.
2. Go To The Agency’s Website
If the email checks out, go to the agency’s official website and check whether the person’s name is found there. Also, check if the contact details on the website match what’s mentioned in the email.
3. Call the Contact Information Found on the Agency’s Official Website
So, if you found yourself ticking all the “not a scammer” boxes, the last thing you should do to really make sure that the opportunity is legitimate is by calling or emailing the person’s contact information found on the agency’s official website.
You could skip all the steps before this one, and just contact the person immediately but to avoid bothering the busy contracting person, it would be more ideal to contact them, when you’ve double-checked everything.
Do not use the contact information in the email provided but use the one that’s stated on the official agency website because anyone can create links, including the scammers.
If you want to learn more about Government Contracting and how to deal with scammers, then be sure to click the resources below. You can also visit the GovCon Giant website or the new GovCon Edu, where you know everything about government contracting!
Someone Sent Me a Contract Directly! How Do I bid It?