Warning signs

From the first contact with a potential customer, the following signs can alert you to the risk of diversion.

After verification by you, in case of doubt, you can seek the SBDU's opinion on your export project by contacting your customary contact person at the SBDU or by submitting a non-licence request.


  • The product is still under development or has not yet found many customers in your domestic market
  • The product's characteristics are technically superior to those of its established competitors
  • The customer has requested an unusual customisation of a standard product, or requests for modifications raise concerns about potential uses of the customised product
  • The product has a known dual use application, whether military or sensitive


Request for unusual shipping, packaging or labelling arrangements, or the standard incoterms for shipping, container/truck sealing and confirmation of receipt by the recipient/end user are refused.

Financing and agreement

  • Exceptionally favourable payment terms, such as payment of a very high price, full payment in advance or immediate payment in cash
  • Payment is made by parties other than the customer or its designated intermediaries and takes a different route than that of the products
  • Refusal of routine installation, training or maintenance
  • The installation site is located in an area subject to strict security control or in an area where access is severely restricted
  • The installation site is unusual in relation to the exporter's sector of activity or the type of equipment installed
  • Unusual confidentiality requirements about final destinations, customers and technical specifications
  • Excessive requests for spare parts, or a lack of interest in spare parts

End use and end user

  • The customer is new to the exporter, KYC is incomplete or inconsistent or it is difficult to find information via public sources
  • The declared end-user is a trading company, distributor or company located in a free trade area, the exporter may not know the product's final destination
  • The end user is connected with the military, the defence sector or a government research organization, although the declared end use is civilian
  • The customer does not seem to know the product and its performance characteristics (e.g. displays a clear lack of technical knowledge)
  • The customer requests a product that seems too sophisticated for the intended application
  • Contact information in enquiries (e. g. telephone numbers, e-mail and addresses) is located in countries other than that of the company indicated or has been subsequently altered
  • The company has a foreign company name (for example, in a language not expected for the country where the head office is located)
  • The company's website lacks content compared to what is normally found on a legitimate website
  • The customer is reluctant to provide information on the end-use of the goods (e.g. via an end-user certificate - EUC), or to provide clear answers to common commercial or technical questions during negotiations
  • An unconvincing explanation is given as to why the goods are necessary, taking into account the normal activities of the customer, or the level of technical sophistication of the goods.

Edited on 24/06/2021