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Coast Guard provides COVID-19 fraud awareness to vendor community

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Dear Industry Partner,

I appreciate your continued interest in supporting the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts as well as enduring USCG missions.

Unfortunately, criminal opportunists are attempting social engineering tactics in this ever-changing environment. We are aware of ‘spoofing’ examples where individuals impersonate Coast Guard personnel to request quotes, issue fraudulent purchase orders, and collect those goods supposedly ordered for the USCG. These attempts are sophisticated and include email addresses and communications that appear official.

To protect your business from losing product and revenue, please consider the following actions as you review requests for quotes and purchase orders:

  1. Consider faxed documents and/or an insistence to communicate by fax suspicious.
  2. Independently obtain the office phone number for the listed USCG official contact and call them to confirm legitimacy.
  3. Send a new email to the USCG “.mil” email address provided; instead of simply hitting reply. Remember that emails can appear official when they are spoofed.
  4. Look for suspicious shipping points of contact and locations. Some criminals will list a logistics company’s address. Independently confirm the legitimacy of the address. Even if the document lists a USCG address, the scammer may contact you to reroute the package so that it can ship elsewhere. This is a good indicator that it is likely fraud.
  5. Check for misspellings or wrong domains within links, email addresses, and content.
  6. Check for unusual language not typical of native English speakers.
  7. Check for distorted seals and graphics.
  8. If the request is for something outside of your specialty, it may be fraudulent.
  9. When shipping product, clearly indicate on the outside of all boxes that the contents are the propertyof the United States Government.

For more information on COVID-19 warnings about scams and frauds and prevention tips, please visit the “Scams and Fraud” section of https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus. Please report suspected criminal activity and fraudulent schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic to COVID19Fraud@dhs.gov.

Michael W. Derrios,
Head of Contracting Activity