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BBB warns of bid proposal scam targeting businesses

Posted at 12:26 PM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 19:07:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Better Business Bureau issued a warning to business owners about a growing scam involving project proposals.

Here’s how the con works.

Businesses receive an email that appears to be from a potential client with a subject line “Communication Proposal PDF” or something similar.

The sender asks you to download a RFP (Request for Proposal) and submit a bid for a new project.

The message may even have a real company’s signature block with a physical address and staff contact person, according to the BBB.

The problem is the “PDF” actually contains malware, or in other versions, the link takes you to a website where it asks for personal information such as bank account numbers.

“No matter what the con, be sure to delete it,” said the BBB.

How to Spot an RFP Scam:

  • Call the contact information to confirm. If you aren't sure if an RFP is real, reach out to the provided contact information. If this person doesn't exist or refuses to speak with you, it's a huge red flag. Scammers often make excuses such as being "out of the country."
  • Get outside confirmation. Scammers often pose as government agencies or use real company names. Check that the RFP is posted on the organization's website. If the company doesn't list RFPs online, call their office to confirm. But don't use a link or phone number provided in the potentially phony message.
  • Be cautious of generic RFPs. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of messages and project descriptions that are overly broad.
  • Don't believe what you see. Just because an email looks real, doesn't mean it is. Scammers can fake anything from a company logo to the "Sent" email address