The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is warning fleets about a new round of fraudulent USDOT letters that are beginning to circulate among motor carriers. Recently, many contractors have received a fraudulent faxed letter that is part of a recurring identity theft scheme, FMCSA says.
The letters are dated March 16, 2012, and appear to be from the “U.S. Dept. of Transportation Procurement Office” and signed by a fictitious name of “Julie Weynel – Senior Procurement Officer.” The letters are attempting to obtain banking information from the targeted companies by asking recipients to provide bank account information on an “Authorization to Release Financial Information” form.
This is just another in a string of fraudulent letters to trucking companies dating back several years, according to FMCSA. The letters are typically signed by someone claiming to be a “Senior Procurement Officer” at DOT and appears on U.S. Dept of Transportation (DOT) letterhead containing a Washington, D.C., address, but little other identifying information.
Any direct communication from DOT should always be accompanied with detailed contact information, the FMCSA stated. In addition, DOT procurement representatives will only request financial information in reference to specific contracts awarded. DOT does not request financial information from prospective contractors wishing to submit a bid proposal or quote.
If you have questions about a DOT request regarding procurement, please contact the Office of the Senior Procurement Executive at (202) 366–4263 or the office of procurement for any of the individual DOT operating administrations.
If you would like to report a fraudulent request for information to DOT, please contact the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline at http://dot.cantongroup.com/hotline, or by calling (800) 424–9071. The OIG may also provide your information to the U.S. Secret Service office in DC.
If you have already responded to such a request, please notify your financial institution immediately and contact the OIG Hotline. Fleets are also encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency and their regional U.S. Secret Service office if they received a fraudulent letter. To see a list of Secret Service offices go to http://www.secretservice.gov/field_offices.shtml.
“Because these types of identity theft scams are often conducted from outside the United States of America, it may be extremely difficult to identify and prosecute the perpetrators,” The FMCSA warning stated. If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, you are encouraged to review the Secret Service’s tips for victims of fraud at http://www.secretservice.gov/faq.shtml.