In a statement sent to Lusa, ASAE said it was aware that, in this area of Alentejo, that is, in the district of Beja, “fraud practices carried out by individuals posing as inspectors of this authority are taking place”.

These alleged false inspectors, “by illicit means and using fictitious situations, seek to collect, for their own benefit, payments or benefits that are not due to them”, said ASAE, noting that this practice has “been adopted for some months now".

“As a rule, the method used by individuals involves notifying economic operators about a hypothetical offense, immediately demanding the payment of a fine, usually by bank transfer or ATM reference, under threat of a subsequent additional aggravated measure of closing the establishment”.

“In other situations, the practice of filling out inspection forms to simulate inspection actions and subsequently being notified of the hypothetical administrative offense was detected”.

ASAE warned that these are “fraudulent attempts to obtain illegitimate benefits and privileges, through usurpation of the powers and functions of an Authority, therefore economic operators should not, under any circumstances, follow this instruction”.

“Regardless of the content of the information communicated, notifications for payment of ASAE administrative offenses are always made in accordance with formal and legal requirements”, warned the organisation, and “economic operators should never pay any amount directly”.

In the same statement, ASAE also advised that, if any message or contact is received, the person concerned should send the same information to