Federal Contractor Registry
TINA.org flags SAM.gov imposters.
Tricking consumers into paying hundreds of dollars for services that are available for free.
In order to be eligible to receive grant money from the federal government, including COVID relief funds, businesses and organizations must register with the System for Award Management, or SAM, at SAM.gov. SAM registration, which is also required to bid on government contracts, is relatively simple — and free. And not only is it free to register, it’s free to renew registration, which can also be done through SAM.gov.
Yet some third-party companies use the information applicants provide when registering, which is public record, to target businesses and organizations as their annual renewal dates near. They send scary emails warning that failing to renew registration puts future funds at risk. The emails link to websites posing as SAM.gov, where these companies attempt to trick consumers into paying hundreds of dollars for services that are available for free.
TINA.org recently sent warning letters to the operators of two such government imposter scams, Fed Filing (doing business as Federal Filing) and USA Filing. TINA.org was alerted to both imposter scams by a consumer who had registered with SAM to apply for COVID relief funds for his video gaming center business.
The email the consumer received from California-based USA Filing noted that the business owner’s SAM registration “will be expiring and must be renewed,” adding:
It is important to renew and update your SAM account annually to ensure your current Awards … are not affected for your account to remain active.
The email provided a link to renew registration, which led to one of USA Filing’s websites posing as SAM.gov showing options ranging from a one-year SAM renewal for $399 to a three-year SAM renewal for $799 (see above). Neither the email nor the website, samfiling.com, disclosed that the services are available for free.
“This targets the most vulnerable businesses which are working the hardest to keep their doors open throughout the pandemic and don’t have this kind of money to spare,” the consumer whose business was targeted said in an email.
As of today, USA Filing hasn’t responded to TINA.org’s warning letter and the company has yet to make any noticeable changes to its website. (See Federal Filing’s response here.)
Check back for updates.
Find more of our coverage on imposter scams here.