It has come to our attention that individuals have contacted oil and gas trading and facilitation firms claiming to represent API and offering to provide membership in API or a “facilitator’s license”. This is fraudulent activity and not authorized by API. Please be advised that:
- API is not a government entity but is a private trade association,
- API employees will never contact you using an email that does not end in “@api.org,”
- API employees will never ask you to make a payment directly to a third party,
- All official API membership information is found on our website at www.api.org/membership, and
- API does not issue commercial/trade licenses.
API takes misuse of its name extremely seriously and we will be working with the appropriate legal authorities to identify and address any such fraudulent schemes. By making you aware of this, we hope to avoid and ultimately stop victims falling for scams using API’s name. If you are contacted by someone who you suspect may not be appropriately representing API, please follow the directions below to report the fraud immediately.
Membership fraud is a scheme that offers fictitious membership to people and entities. We have seen this type of fraud done through unsolicited emails claiming to be from API. These emails request recipients to provide payments to submit applications or make tax payments.
API’s membership process is outlined at www.api.org/membership and is limited to:
- Companies engaged in the oil and natural gas industry that meet the criteria for one of the API industry segments and are incorporated in the United States or Canada or Mexico shall be eligible for membership.
- Service and supply companies in the oil and natural gas industry with their principal office in a country other than the United States or Canada or Mexico may be admitted to membership on approval by the API Chairman and Treasurer or their designee(s).
The process to obtain the Chairman and Treasurer’s approval involves a series of vetting steps and never includes a request for payment or other financial information during the application process. In addition, API employees conduct email communications via api.org email accounts only. You should verify all contact with API and view any email that doesn’t have an “api.org” address as suspicious.
Signs of Membership Fraud
- The person contacting you states that the supposed API “registration” or membership is required for you to bid on a project or conduct business with a third party, or will threaten you with loss of business. API employees will never tell you that API’s membership is mandatory in order to secure business from a third party.
- There is a requirement to pay a tax clearance fee and to be licensed by API.
- There is an insistence on urgency.
- The email does not come from an official “@API.org” email address, and instead uses an address from an unrelated domain or free email service.
- The email name displays the domain “@api.org,” but the address in the header doesn’t actually match and shows a different domain.
- The offeror gives you contact information that does not match API’s public contact information at its headquarters in the United States or the official international representative offices in Brazil, China, Dubai, or Singapore.
- The offeror states that they will not accept phone calls or that all transactions must be completed by email.
- The offeror requires you to make a deposit to a bank account.
- The offeror asks for your banking information by email.
- They provide you with applications or other documentation using the API marks that do not match materials found on the official API website at www.api.org.
What Should I Do?
- Please contact API at email@example.com to advise us that you are in receipt of fraudulent communications and in your email include the following three items:
- The original email.
- Original subject line – please do not change the original subject line of the email you received.
- The complete headers, including the headers – email headers contain a detailed record of the specific route that an email takes through the internet when it is sent to you.
- Forward the same emails to the abuse addresses of the Internet Service Providers or ISPs involved. For example firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
- If you came across a fraudulent online offer for API registration, please forward the link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Check the API website at www.api.org if you have any questions about the legitimacy of any offer of API membership.
- If you sent payment per the instructions of the fraudsters, consider contacting your local law enforcement, your bank and the bank to which you sent the payment.
These items will help us to investigate and identify the individual(s) that are misrepresenting themselves as API employees and take appropriate action.
- Click on any links in the email.
- Open any attachments that arrive with the email.
- Reply to the email or contact the senders in any way.
- Respond to unsolicited business propositions and/or offers of membership from people with whom you are unfamiliar.
- Disclose your personal or financial details to anyone you do not know.
- Send any money. If you become a member of API, an invoice will be sent to you after the membership decision has been made. API will not ask for membership payment before confirming your status as a member.
- Engage in further communication if you believe the communication may be fraudulent.