Federal Government Marketing Schemes and Scams: The Top 2 Ways To Avoid Them
Recently, a Point Compliance Group (PCG) Client received an email about not having a capability statement in their company registration. The email to the client, in my humble opinion, was a scheme to have our client pay for something he didn’t need. A search of this organization returned this post on the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center: Schemes targeting small business contractors proliferate. The first sentence of this post says it all: “Small businesses are reporting alarming new tactics being used by some for-profit firms trying to get them to sign up for services.” The post referenced the very scam email our client received:
“FedBiz Directory”: An email informs recipients that “a new Directory has been created to help federal contracting officers conduct small business market research in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 10.” The email recipient is informed that “in order to migrate Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) small business marketing information into the FedBizDirectory, we need to receive verbal confirmation.” Callers to the phone number in the email are informed that must pay a fee to be listed in the “directory.” There are at least a couple problems with this pitch: 1) federal contracting officers don’t need a directory because they already have access to the SAM and DSBS databases, and 2) since these databases are public, if someone wanted to create a directory, they wouldn’t need your permission to include you.
The all-time favorite emails of these business is about your SAM registration. Again, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center nailed it:
SAM “Renewal” notices: You may receive a message exhorting you to renew your SAM registration and “Click here to continue to receive federal payments” or call a designated number to “renew over the phone.“ In actuality, SAM renewals are to be accomplished – by you – online. There is no capability to renew “over the phone” unless you are paying someone else to do it online for you. And SAM registration allows the government to pay vendors electronically without the need for an intermediary. This notice also incorrectly states:“Fail to renew your Registration, and the government will place your business on the federal watch list.” There is no such thing! Renewing a SAM registration is a simple task that business owners can accomplish easily, on their own.
There are 2 easy ways to determine if an email you received requires your attention:
Number One: The most important way to avoid these email schemes is to determine if the email is legitimate. Thus, the first thing to do is to check the email address. If the email you received has an address like @fedservices.us or @samreg.us, those addresses are not government agency addresses. If the email is from a Federal Government address like @gsa.gov, @cms.hhs.gov, or @dla.mil, it is mostly likely legitimate. I say most likely because even the Federal Government can be the victim of a hack. Always look
Number Two: The second most important way to avoid these schemes is if you are asked to provide payment immediately with a credit card. If that happens, STOP! No Federal Agency will ask you for payment to be registered in SAM.
For more on the other tactics being used, I recommend reading the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center post.
If you have questions, please free to contact the author: Dr. Tomi W. Bryan, General Counsel.