Picture: Denis Farrell / AP

Durban - Police in KwaZulu-Natal have warned people to be aware of applying for fake tenders as an increasing number of scamsters were pretending to represent government departments.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said provincial police are investigating cases of fraud committed by fraudsters with the same modus operandi, who are milking contactors through fake tenders. 

"Police are warning tender applicants to be careful when applying for tenders as many people are pretending to represent government departments," Gwala said. "One must always take note that with government tenders an applicant must be in the database of the department in order to be granted a tender. No person can be awarded a tender without applying for it. People are advised to familiarise themselves with persons who deal with tender applications within the department and make enquiries.

"Criminals are utilising what appears to be letterheads belonging to government departments to defraud unsuspecting business owners. Business owners are informed that they have been awarded tenders by Government Institutions/ Departments. 

"Correspondence is submitted electronically to the complainant on what appears to be  an official document. The product which the business owner has to provide is/are usually items not commonly found. The complainant is directed to order the product/s from a specific fictitious manufacturer/supplier that is situated outside of the Province in relation to where the complainant operates his business. 

"The arrangement is that the supplier will then deliver the product to a specific Government Department in another Province. The complainant makes purchases from the “supplier” and deposits huge sums of money into a banking account. The initial amount for purchases is usually between R100 000.00 and R400 000.00."
 
Gwala said the complainant is then influenced to make further purchases/deposits within a short space of time. 

"After making 3-4 payments/purchases the complainant becomes suspicious and makes a follow-up with the respective department. He/she then discover that the whole tender process was a scam and by this time he/she has already suffered huge financial losses."

Police urged urged anyone who was defrauded in a similar maner to contact their nearest police station or Crime Stop number 08600 10111.
 
African News Agency