Local firms warned of trade fraud in West Africa
The Vietnam Trade Office in Nigeria has called for Vietnamese enterprises to practice caution when doing business with companies in West African countries. The office has recently received requests for help from Vietnamese firms over the fraudulent practices of their partners in Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo.
According to a statement hosted on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnam Trade Office in Nigeria has warned of four common fraudulent practices that Vietnamese export companies have encountered.
For instance, swindlers tend to pose as representatives of organizations in Africa and hold high-value tenders, calling for Vietnamese enterprises to participate. They later declare that the Vietnamese firms have won the tenders and demand bidding fees of US$1,500-US$3,000.
Some fraudsters forge orders for Vietnamese exports worth some US$1-2 million and ask Vietnamese export firms to pay broking and other fees to complete import procedures in their countries and to hire lawyers, at 1%-2% of the value of each batch of imports.
In addition, swindlers announce the sale of wood or iron scrap at low prices and ask Vietnamese firms to make deposits, equivalent to 20%-30% of the value of the shipments. They then disappear after receiving the money.
Lastly, they may trick Vietnamese firms into signing several contracts. They then fulfill a few of the initial contracts and ask Vietnamese enterprises to make deposits of 30%-50% of the contract value for the remaining contracts, which they never fulfill after being paid.
The Vietnam Trade Office in Nigeria has advised local firms to check the names and taxpayer identification numbers of African enterprises before conducting transactions and to avoid transferring money in any way.
They should also make payments through irrevocable letters of credit or letters of credit at sight and should not use telegraphic transfers, documents against payment and documents against accepted payment methods.