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Warning - Confidence Schemes and Scams - Procurement Matters

Supply and Transport, 19 August 2010

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is aware of various schemes, being circulated via e-mails, from internet web sites, and via regular mail or fax, falsely stating that they are issued by or associated with the UN or UNHCR. These schemes may seek to extract money and in some cases personal details from the recipients of such correspondence as well as offering assistance in the facilitation of contracts and/or partnership arrangements against fees and/or commission. Such schemes are fraudulent.

The schemes may consist of letters, sent either via e-mail, fax, regular mail, or from web sites, which appear as various proposals from people purporting to be officials of the UN or UNHCR. The correspondence and other documents, e-mails addresses and web sites may be made to look like they originate with the UN or UNHCR. For example, they may contain official-looking UN or UNHCR stationery, including the UN or UNHCR emblem or name, or some variation thereof, and e-mail or web site addresses, including either or both of the words "United Nations", “United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees” or some similar name, or the name of a real United Nations entity or fictitious one.

Such schemes, which have no connection whatsoever with the UN or the UNHCR, take many forms. Please be aware that new schemes are appearing with increasing frequency.

Please also be aware that:

  • UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its procurement process (supplier registration, bids submission or other fees).
  • UNHCR does not request or issue personal bank checks, Money Grams, Western Union or any other type of money transfer at any stage of its procurement process. UNHCR does not request any information related to bank accounts or other private information prior to the formal registration as a vendor.
  • UNHCR does not offer prizes, awards, funds, certificates, scholarships or conduct lotteries through e-mail, mail or fax, nor does it conduct its procurement process through external entities or individuals on a commission basis.

We strongly recommend that recipients of such solicitations to engage in UNHCR procurement activities exercise extreme caution.

Any transfer of money or personal information to those issuing such fraudulent correspondence can result in a substantial financial loss and/or identity theft. UNHCR is not responsible for any such loss or theft.

Victims of scams may also wish to report them to local law enforcement authorities for appropriate action.

Please note that UNHCR strictly enforces a policy of zero tolerance concerning unethical, unprofessional or fraudulent acts of UN contractors. Accordingly, any registered company that is found to have undertaken unethical, unprofessional or fraudulent activities will be suspended or forbidden from continuing business relations with the UNHCR.