A scam e-mail requesting travel agents to submit tenders for UNICEF has been circulating.
The full contents of the suspected fraudulent (phishing / scamming) e-mail appear below:
As part of its activities, UNICEF regularly uses travel agency services. You will find attached the call for tender that we are launching for the current year. Thank you for your interest and to let us know your interest so that we can send you the terms and conditions.
PS: Thank you for answering us by e-mail to the address firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning the reference of thé [sic] tender (RFU/001/2017/0010) in the subject of your message.
Purchasing and Logistics
Head of Accounting Department
UNICEF Regional Office
Very often in tender scams, fraudsters publish a fake tender advert and require a non-refundable document fee which is to be deposited into the fraudsters’ bank account. They may even provide suppliers with a complex document.
It is important for travel agents to remain cautious at all times, especially when receiving tender opportunities. Always remember to be realistic about tenders and err on the side of caution by double checking the credentials of the sender.
The golden rule: if it is too good to be true it probably is.
Know your customers and industry. Receiving a fresh requirement out of the blue may seem appealing but needs to always be double-checked.
Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
Be on the lookout for suspicious banking details.
Red flags should go up if the banking details are in a private name and not company name.
Check e-mail addresses
Make sure your name isn’t in the “To” line. If it’s not, the email has likely been sent to thousands of people. Also check the sender’s email address: it might have a familiar company or government organization that is misspelled
Verify physical addresses
Always verify that the request to tender has proper contact details, such as a landline number and a physical address. Check that the physical address corresponds with the company’s actual address.
To be safe, call the company directly to check the validity of their e-mail. After all, businesses should not request personal information to be sent via email. Do not use the phone number on the email. Rather look up the company’s details online.
Check the URL without clicking on it
Check whether the URL is a fake. Hover over the “click here” or “take action now” link with your mouse. If you see a strange URL instead of a legitimate company website, don’t click.
Do online searches.
Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “UNESCO Tender”. You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.