Another round of fraudulent U.S. Dept. of Transportation letters dated Sept. 24, 2012 are being distributed — largely by fax — to motor carrier officials attempting to obtain banking information from the targeted carriers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The letters appear to be from the “U.S. Department of Transportation Procurement Office” and are signed by a fictitious name “Julie Weynel – Senior Procurement Officer.” Weynel is NOT an employee of U.S. DOT, FMCSA said

“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 by fax, e-mail, or telephone. Requestors should be verified and authenticated before such data is provided,” FMCSA said in an announcement.

This is one of many rounds of a scam whereby many carriers have received a faxed letter asking recipients to provide bank account information on an “Authorization to Release Financial Information” form.

In the recurring identity theft scheme 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. 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, FMCSA stated.

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 please visit http://www.equifax.com/debtwise/.

Fleets that have already responded to such a request should notify their financial institution immediately and contact the OIG Hotline at http://www.oig.dot.gov/hotline.

Fleets are also encouraged to contact local law enforcement and their regional U.S. Secret Service office. 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, FMCSA adds.

To report a fraudulent request for information to DOT, please contact the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline at http://www.oig.dot.gov/hotline, or call (800) 424–9071.

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.