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How To Avoid Scams When Registering and Maintaining Your SAM.Gov Account

Author: TeamingPro Staff

A SAM.Gov account is required in order to do any kind of business with the U.S. Government. SAM stands for “Systems of Awards Management” and is an official website of the U.S. Government.

There are many uses for this website, including the ability to modify your current registration status, access public award data through system accounts, search for business registrations, find contract opportunities (formerly Fedbizopps) and data reports, assistance listings, wage determinations, and submit BioPreferred and Service Contract reports among other activities.

As you see, there are a lot of options to interact with this website and therefore a lot of opportunities for scammers to try to take advantage of you. Lately, there have been a plague of scams associated with the registration process of SAM.Gov, the maintenance requirements for accounts, and a whole range of other situations involving different features of the website.

It’s important to be informed about what kind of scams there are because being forewarned can provide you with the knowledge you need to recognize scams and minimize the risk to your identity and finances.

Tips To Stay Safe

Scammers have gotten better and better at targeting specific consumers and finding ways to make their attempts on your money or identity more realistic and seemingly credible.

However, there is some general information that can help you to avoid many of the scam attempts that may come your way or that you may discover when trying to register or renew your account.

Know Your Cost

Perhaps most importantly, it’s important to realize that registering for an account, renewing, or making any sort of modifications to your account are FREE.

That means that any service that is offering to perform these services for you for a fee is trying to take advantage of you. This should be a huge red flag when you are receiving offers to renew or you’re trying to register for the first time.

Know Your Site

A lot of new, small businesses get taken advantage of by companies that look official and trick them into paying a fee to get their company registered in SAM.GOV.

One major warning sign is if the site is listed as unsecured. No official government site such as is going to be without security protocols in place. Check for it and if you see that unsecured notice at the top of your browser, get out of there.

Here are some other things you need to know:

  • An officially sanctioned government site will end with the extension .gov. If the site that is claiming to provide government services is something else, avoid it.
  • Be aware that government forms and application forms are provided at no cost. If the site you’re accessing is preparing to charge you a fee, shut it down.
  • If you can’t put your finger on anything specific, but the site doesn’t feel right for one reason or another, you can always investigate by contacting the Consumer Action hotline to check the legitimacy. You can do that by phone at 415-777-9635 or contact them online.
  • Look carefully at the website address that you are on. Sometimes scammers tweak a real address slightly so that at first glance (or due to a shortened URL in the window) appears to be the correct site, but if you look carefully you can see there are subtle changes to show that you are not at the site you thought you were.

Know Your Enemy

With more sophisticated methods of attaining your personal information, it’s good to know the techniques that scammers often use in order to trick you. These attempts to acquire sensitive information from you is called “phishing.” Here are some methods that are commonly used by scammers.

1. Claiming to Represent a Well-Known Company

Scammers will often use big name companies or organizations to try to gain your trust. They may also use very official looking documents or credentials to make you think they are real.

Keep in mind that they are often going to want usernames, passwords, social security numbers, birthdates, and payment information. If this “representative” begins giving you reasons why this information is necessary, be suspicious.

2. Attempts to Direct You to a Website

Scammers have the ability to manipulate a lot of devices. They can even send you a text that appears as if it came from your own bank, right alongside real SMS messages you have received.

Messages such as these or emails often try to create a sense of urgency, such as telling you your account has been shut down or suspended for a service, and will provide you a link to visit for more information.

Be careful! Most legitimate services would provide you the basic information and simply tell you to go to their site or your account without providing you a link. Scammers use these links to steal your information!

Keep in mind, the site has just consolidated a lot of their services, such as into their new website. Already, scammers are laying claim to the original web addresses and beginning to imitate those services in order to perform their scams!

3. Emotional Appeal

Be aware, especially if you are on the phone, that scammers can be experts at tugging at your heartstrings and manipulating your emotions. Do not let them! If a situation feels questionable in any way, get out of the conversation, even if you just have to hang up.

It’s easy to let yourself be manipulated, especially if the scammer has informed you of a great risk to your account or other personal effects, like your taxes. Remember that government agencies will typically work through snail mail and not through phone or email. That is by design to assure you that they are legitimate services.

4. Specific Targets

Scammers gather information on various organizations and services to choose specific targets. They browse through vendors on to find those who are registered in order to perform their scams.

They may also investigate agencies which provide services to specific businesses in order to discover viable targets.

For example, GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) provides help for many different businesses, and they go through to find a specific HUBZone certified business, women owned small business, veteran owned small business, or some other specific designation and they gear their scams specifically toward them, so that everything seems more legitimate.

Also take precautions if you suspect contact might be malicious in nature.

Specific Scams

There have been a number of specific scams attempted that target users of Many of these have been identified by both users of the site and the site itself.

  • Sending Email Renewal Notices - Many scams take place through email, and one specific scam involves sending you an offer to renew your account that requires a fee. Remember, registration and renewals are free.
  • Fake Documents - has put out warnings about these situations themselves. Scammers are very good at taking real information they’ve acquired and combining it with a professional looking (but fake) document, which they use to pretend to be a government official. Be wary!
  • Imitating Contractors - Another popular scam involves impersonating a contractor, sending a fake PO and promising to offer a payment after they are later reimbursed. That payment, of course, never comes.
  • Imitating Official Agencies - Similarly, they also may pretend to be a government agency, university, hospital, or some other business along with sending a fake purchase order while providing an address that is not associated with the real organization with the same outcome.

Good luck out there!
- Your friends at TeamingPro.