The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) said it uncovered a transnational fraud ring that has impersonated DHS procurement officials in order to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars of IT equipment.
In a July 16 report, OIG said that the fraud ring – based in both the United States and Nigeria –referenced legitimate DHS solicitations for computer and electronic equipment, and used DHS procurement officials’ names to create fake orders to government contractors across the U.S.
As part of the scheme, the group had vendors send equipment to addresses chosen by the fraudsters, which OIG said tended to be abandoned commercial spaces. The group then would sell the stolen equipment on the black market in the U.S. or in Nigeria.
OIG issued precautionary guidelines in its report to help vendors determine the legitimacy of solicitations they may receive, including checking phone numbers, email domains, and email language.
Further investigation of the still-active fraud ring is underway, OIG said.