Advice and Opinion

Zendai Development warns of email scam

Zendai Development South Africa wishes to alert members of the public to an e-mail purporting to be sent from the company requesting bids to consult, contract and supply to the Modderfontein New City project.

The modus operandi of this scam involves false emails in the name of Zendai Development South Africa asking prospective suppliers to bid to provide services like earthworks, road construction, landscaping, demolition, roofing, paving, solar installations, lighting amongst other services. The email also calls on civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, fire and traffic engineers, architects, facilities managers, surveyors and town planners to bid to provide consulting services.

“We have once again become aware of the risk to bidders of being scammed through the emails. Furthermore, the scam perpetrators are now using the names of staff members employed by Zendai Development South Africa”, says Wenhui Du, Chief Executive Officer.

The email which first surfaced during June 2016, invites interested parties to buy bid documents for a non-refundable fee of between ZAR5000 – ZAR10,000 to be considered for evaluation. Banking details are provided on calling the number in the email. Over the past two months, the perpetrators have changed the amount, address, contact details and briefing dates to avoid detection and impede investigative efforts. To add a degree of legitimacy to the scam email, the suspected fraudsters are also misusing the Zendai logo.

While the letter does not provide specific details of the bank account, it provides the name of one Helen Frans as a contact person. According to Mr Du, Zendai Development South Africa has no person called Helen Frans in its employ.

“It follows the most basic template for scamming unsuspecting bidders and suppliers i.e. requesting a non-refundable deposit to be made to an account. An advisory to this effect was placed on our website when first alerted to the email,” Mr Du adds.

Members of the public are reminded not to respond to any fraudulent emails and to make any such payments. Zendai Development South Africa (ZDSA) has not sent out any such emails or request for proposals. ZDSA bears no responsibility for amounts being deposited or any further engagements as a follow up to the email.

A case of fraud has been opened with the Germiston Commercial Crime and investigation is ongoing.

“Businesses need to be vigilant when it comes to submitting tenders and verify the antecedents of such emails. If you are a supplier and have any doubts or questions around our own procurement processes, please contact ZDSA,” concludes Mr Du.