SAPS are investigating cases of fraud committed by con artists with the same modus operandi who are “milking” contactors through fake tenders. According to Amanzimtoti SAPS spokesperson Charlene van der Spuy, police are warning tender applicants to be careful when applying for tenders as many are pretending to represent government departments. “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,” she said. People are advised to familiarise themselves with the people who deal with tender applications within the department and make inquiries before getting involved.“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 and/or departments. Correspondence is submitted electronically to the complainant on what appears to be an official document.” The product the business owner has to provide is 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 specific a 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 and R400 000.” The complainant is then influenced to make further purchases or deposits within a short space of time. After making about three to four payments or purchases the complainant becomes suspicious and follows-up with the respective department. The person then discovers that the whole tender process was a scam and by this time he/she has already suffered huge financial losses. “We urge anyone who was defrauded in a similar manner to contact their nearest police station or Crime Stop number 08600 10111,” added Van der Spuy. - Supplied.