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Red Flag Indicators

Things to Look for in Export Transactions

Use this as a checklist to discover possible violations of the Export Administration Regulations.

  • The customer or its address is similar to one of the parties found on the Commerce Department's BIS list of denied persons.
  • The customer or purchasing agent is reluctant to offer information about the end-use of the item.
  • The product's capabilities do not fit the buyer's line of business, such as an order for sophisticated computers for a small bakery.
  • The item ordered is incompatible with the technical level of the country to which it is being shipped, such as semiconductor manufacturing equipment being shipped to a country that has no electronics industry.
  • The customer is willing to pay cash for a very expensive item when the terms of sale would normally call for financing.
  • The customer has little or no business background.
  • The customer is unfamiliar with the product's performance characteristics but still wants the product.
  • Routine installation, training, or maintenance services are declined by the customer.
  • Delivery dates are vague, or deliveries are planned for out of the way destinations.
  • A freight forwarding firm is listed as the product's final destination.
  • The shipping route is abnormal for the product and destination.
  • Packaging is inconsistent with the stated method of shipment or destination.
  • When questioned, the buyer is evasive and especially unclear about whether the purchased product is for domestic use, for export, or for reexport.

You may also wish to visit our page, "Know Your Customer Guidance."


If you have a reason to believe a violation is taking place or has occurred, report it to the Department of Commerce:

Call its 24-hour hot-line number: 1 (800) 424-2980

Complete our Confidential Lead/Tip Form





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