The Government Printing Works has warned businesses bidding for government tenders to be careful of a scam in which criminals masquerade as the government printing institution with the aim of defrauding bidders.
In a government gazette circular published on Friday, the Government Printing Works included an alert to suppliers.
The Government Printing Works is responsible for the distribution of the government gazette, which includes changes in legislation, draft laws and other announcements by government departments and entities. It also prints other important documents such as passports and visas.
The Government Printing Works said the scam involved using the GPW's letterhead to send out fake tender bids to companies as well as requests to supply goods and services.
"Although the contact person’s name on the letter may be of an existing official, the contact details on the letter are not the same as the Government Printing Works," the alert said.
Government Printing Works stressed that government would never ask a bidder or service provider to deposit any funds for any business transaction.
"GPW has alerted the relevant law enforcement authorities to investigate this scam to protect legitimate businesses as well as the name of the organisation," the alert said.
The GPW alert said other red flags include e-mails addresses using the wrong domain, such as the email address "PROCUREMENT@GPW-GOV.ORG" instead of the official "@gpq.gov.za" domain.
"All of these fraudsters also use the same or very similar telephone numbers. Although such number with an area code 012 looks like a landline, it is not fixed to any property. GPW will never send you an e-mail asking you to supply equipment and goods without a purchase or order number," the alert said.
GPW said it does not procure goods or services for another level of government and that it will not be liable for actions that result in companies or individuals being resultant victims of such a scam.