Supplier Verification

Given the increasing number of supply frauds that are happening, it is very important to engage in supplier due diligence before you start work with them. Unfortunately in the internet age, you do not get an opportunity to size up your supplier in person, the traditional way. This calls for nontraditional supply verification methods that can give you the information you need well in time. Let’s examine some of the more commonly used methods of supplier verification:

· An internet search: Just Google the company name or add words like rip off, scam, fraud or review along with company name and see what turns up. If you come across anything negative or remotely suspicious that should be the first sign that you need to wait and investigate further. It does not mean that the company is actually a fraud because it is common for competitors and unhappy people to make up things and put them on the net. Think of all the stuff that you read about celebrities.

· Address verification: Presence of an actual physical address is a positive sign. You could try using Google Maps or Google earth or just calling up a friend and asking him or her to check it out. If you are using Google maps then you may want to see if the place looks like an office complex or not.

· Phone verification: As the next step, call the contact numbers that you have been given. Does the person on the other end of the line, sound like an employee/professional? Are they able to give you a satisfactory response to all product related questions? Are they sounding too eager to please? There is really no one way to determine genuineness over the phone. You will have to ask as many questions as you can and then trust your intuition.

· Copy of incorporation certificate/company number/tax number: While this may sound intrusive, you can try and create a story about how you need it for your records, pass it off as company policy…etc. Once you have the number you can compare it against a local business registry database and see how long the company has been in existence.

· References: You could ask for a few buyer references to set your mind at ease. The truth is that these can be very easily manipulated unless the person referred, is someone you know. It is however good to ask for a few, just in case.

As a very last step, you could consider placing a small order to a different address and see what you get. You may also want to avoid large wire payments without first receiving goods in hand.

This is usually the best that you can do apart from hiring a company/third person to investigate the company on your behalf. However, do it only if something suspicious turns up in your own research.