Red Flag Indicators: Detecting Unusual Behaviour in Transactions

The illicit trade in sensitive products and materials is a major problem for international security today. Proliferators work within legitimate trade structures by exploiting weak points in supply chains. They will often employ approaches simultaneously, attempting to disguise their own intentions and actions through a variety of methods. This document will explore some of the ‘red flags’ that appear during transactions that can help exporters to identify illicit behaviour. In doing so, it will consider a number of examples derived from open sources and the work of Project Alpha to better illustrate some of these ‘red flags’ that exporters need to be aware of when dealing with dual-use and nuclear-related materials and products.


If you receive an enquiry you consider suspicious you can often allay concerns through your own research. However, you could also either apply for an export licence or utilise the UK Export Control Organisation’s “End User Advisory Service”.