A transnational fraud ring has been impersonating federal procurement offices to obtain electronic equipment, the IG’s office of DHS has said in the latest development in the growing problem of federal offices being imitated.
The fraudsters, based in the Atlanta area, “identify federal government solicitations for computer equipment—frequently laptops, hard drives, and smart phones. They fax or email fraudulent requests for quotations to government vendors nationwide,” the announcement said.
As with the phone and email scams that mimic official accounts to get money or personal information from victims, the scammers use email addresses and domain names similar to those of federal agencies, and in this case also use the name of a legitimate government procurement official, it said. They have the equipment sent to abandoned commercial properties, where it enters the black market or is shipped overseas for sale there, it said.
In addition to DHS, the IG said that its investigation has found that the scammers have imitated agencies including the departments of Commerce, Defense, HUD, Justice, Labor, Transportation, as well as the FDIC, SEC and Railway Retirement Board. Some of the orders were valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars each, it said.