The Dept. of Transportation is warning trucking companies to be aware that another round of fraudulent USDOT letters are being distributed, largely by fax, to motor carrier officials. The letters, dated March 12, 2013, appear to be from the U.S. Department of Transportation Procurement Office and are signed by a fictitious name Julie Weynel – senior procurement officer. The letters are an attempt to obtain banking information from the targeted carriers.
Motor carrier officials and their employees — as well as government and law enforcement officials —should be vigilant and on the lookout for fraudulent attempts to gather financial (or other personal identifiable Information) data by fax, e-mail, or telephone. Requestors should be verified and authenticated before such data is provided.
The letters are part of a recurring scam. The letter is 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. 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. To report a fraudulent request for information to DOT, contact the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline at http://www.oig.dot.gov/hotline, or call (800) 424–9071. The OIG may also provide your information to the U.S. Secret Service office in DC.
Other versions of a similar letter have been sent out to contractors purporting to be from Equifax and other companies. These letters are also a fraudulent means to obtain financial information. For more information on the letters from Equifax visit their website at http://www.equifax.com/debtwise/.
If you have already responded to such a request, DOT says to notify your financial institution immediately and contact the OIG Hotline. Carriers caught in the scams are also encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency and their regional U.S. Secret Service office.
Because these types of identity theft scams are often conducted from outside the United States, it may be extremely difficult to identify and prosecute the perpetrators, DOT notes. If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, you may want to review the Secret Service’s tips for victims of fraud at http://www.secretservice.gov/faq.shtml.