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How to Avoid Registration Scams Blog Feature
Patrick Morgans

By: Patrick Morgans on March 20th, 2023

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How to Avoid Registration Scams

GSA Schedule | Resources and Insight | 6 Min Read

As a government contractor, you have likely become familiar with There are a number of features in SAM, but arguably the most important is the entity registration feature. Since registering your entity in is required in order to do things like apply for contracts or receive grants from the federal government, this creates a database of thousands of companies. Not only that, but these registrations require resubmission every year in order to remain active.

Anything as important as SAM registrations will unfortunately lead to unscrupulous scammers hopping in to muddy the waters about what is required to take part. Have no fear though, I’d like to take you through some tips and tricks for making sure you don’t fall prey to any SAM registration scams.

Signs of a Scam Related to SAM Registration

The below is a non-exhaustive list of things to watch out for when you receive any correspondence regarding your SAM registration. Never click on any links from correspondence that falls into any of the categories below or links that otherwise looks suspicious. Additionally, never give payment or confidential information to anyone who has reached out to you over the phone or email about SAM. If you receive any suspicious correspondence, ignore it and go directly to to check on your registration.

The only way to properly update your SAM registration is through authorized representatives of an entity going to, logging in via and going through the SAM registration, making corrections as necessary, and then submitting.

1. Correspondence that Looks Official but Isn’t

Any correspondence that is made to appear official regarding your SAM registration but does not come from an email that ends .gov is not official government correspondence. You should delete it and block the sender. As always, be on the lookout for minor inconsistencies in the email address, such as spelling errors or alterations to the domain. If you receive an email from, for example,, be aware that it is a spoof rather than official government correspondence.

If your entity’s SAM registration is public, scammers can likely get information that looks official, such as your CAGE code, Unique Entity Identifier, expiration date, and Points of Contact, which can bolster the authentic look of an email, but if it is not from a .gov email address, it is illegitimate.

2. Promised Services for a Fee

If you receive an email reminding you to submit your SAM registration for a fee, you should immediately delete it and block the sender. is a free service, and you will never be charged a fee for registering your entity or renewing your registration.

SAM scam

3. Links to Websites that Don’t End in .gov

If you are linked to a website to register or renew your SAM registration, and the URL is not, do not enter any information into that website. You should also look for the logo in the screenshot above. You will login to using your account, which is also a useful way of knowing that you are on the legitimate website rather than a website that is trying to collect your confidential information.

4. Promises to Fast Track Your Registration

With very few exceptions, your SAM registration will go through a first in first out review process once submitted. If anyone is offering to fast track your registration for a fee, they’re trying to scam you.

5. Language Designed to Drive Panic

While keeping your SAM registration active is important, language that sounds exaggerated is likely to be from a scammer. It is designed to make you act before thinking. A short lapse in your SAM registration is not worth exposing your data or your money ending up in the hands of fraudsters, so double check before clicking on any emails with a headline like “URGENT! SAM REGISTRATION EXPIRING IMMINENTLY!”

Avoiding Scams with Your SAM Registration and Renewal

Unfortunately, unless you opt to shield your SAM registration from public view, scammers can find your information and know when your registration expires since those are front and center on your SAM listing. They generally target those who need to renew their registrations in the near future with correspondence that is meant to provoke panic or haste. To avoid being scammed, the first step is being aware of the signs discussed above. Most importantly, remember that the SAM registration process is always free from initial registration to renewal and technical support.

It's best practice to set calendar reminders for renewing your SAM registration. This will give you peace of mind so that you can avoid panicking in response to correspondence from scammers. I would recommend renewing your registration a couple of months before it expires because there is a chance that changes to your SAM registration, such as name or address, could cause the renewal process to take longer than usual through the entity validation process. Also, if you are unsure of any correspondence, you can reach out to the Federal Service Desk (FSD) to confirm if it is an official message. If you do receive any emails that purport to be from the government or could be confused with an official message from the government, you can:

  • Forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission, specifically its Unsolicited Consumer Emails (UCE) program at
  • Report the contact to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, specifically its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

Remember that SAM is a Legal Document

As the central repository for federal contractor information, terms, and conditions, you should see your entity’s SAM registration as a legal document. As such, be very careful before allowing an outside entity access to your SAM registration. Since contains your financial information, you want to ensure that this information does not fall into the wrong hands. As tempting as it may be given the headaches that renewing your SAM registration can cause, it is usually best to take care of renewing your SAM registration internally.

How to Find Legitimate Help for SAM

Being the potential victim of a scam can make you feel powerless, but now that we’ve discussed what not to do when renewing your SAM registration, I will touch on who you should turn to when registering or renewing your SAM registration. The main help desk for is FSD, which provides free technical support. If you have any questions about itself or are running into technical issues, they are the best resource to turn to. There are multiples ways to reach out to FSD, such as phone and live chat.

You can also reach out to your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which can help you navigate SAM and provide guidance. Your local PTAC office is an official resource for assisting government contractors, and while they will not take care of your SAM registration for you, they can assist you in the process.

The FSD’s Knowledge Base also contains a trove of useful resources for registering or renewing your SAM registration, including Quick Start Guides for entity registrations.

GSA’s Youtube channel is a good source of video tutorials for using The video library is updated occasionally, but you can find useful videos by searching for keywords like “Entity Registration” or “SAM.”

Last but not least, you can always count on Winvale to provide thorough and up to date information regarding your contracting needs. From FAQs about SAM registration to news and updates, you can turn to us when you need help figuring out what’s going on in government contracting.

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About Patrick Morgans

Patrick Morgans is a Lead Consultant for Winvale. He is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia and earned his Bachelor's of Arts in Government from the University of Virginia.