The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector General (OIG), and the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer learned that non-HUD vendors are being victimized by an apparent Nigerian fraud ring to get them to respond to fake purchase requests. This fraud ring poses as HUD contracting employees and sends purchase requests, mostly for laptops, hard drives, and cell phones. These requests indicate urgency and demand shipment before payment is sent. After a vendor ships the equipment, the fraud ring sends someone to take delivery and resells the merchandise. When the vendor bills HUD, they find that they have been swindled.
We have discovered that this scheme is also being used against vendors at other Federal agencies and State and local governments. Another scheme, seen at these other agencies, includes phishing attacks in which scammers call or email, trying to get personal and business data to commit identity theft.