Scammers who claim to be from the U.S. Department of Transportation Procurement Office continue to pester trucking businesses to give up private financial information, including the name of their bank and their account number. The aim is to steal identity with an official-looking letter.
It’s an old scam, perpetrated by faxed letters. The latest round, faxed on or around July 10, asks recipients to release bank account information to a “Senior Procurement Officer” with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of course, it’s not DOT at all.
The scam asks prospective DOT contractors receiving the letter to send an “Authorization to Release Financial Information” back to the sender. The recent scam letters are signed by a “Julie Weynel” or some variation claiming to be a senior procurement officer. Similar scam letters date back to December 2005.
The real DOT Office of Inspector General says those who receive a procurement letter asking for bank information should call the agency’s fraud hotline at 800-424-9071, local law enforcement, and the regional U.S. Secret Service office.
“Please be aware that DOT does not require any financial information to be submitted in order to be eligible for procurement,” the Office of Inspector General states in a detailed warning.
The alert states that any direct communication from DOT should always be accompanied with detailed contact information. In addition, DOT procurement representatives will request financial information only in reference to specific contracts awarded. DOT does not request financial information from prospective contractors wishing to submit a bid proposal or quote.
Identity theft is serious business, and truckers should take precautions to protect themselves. Often, stolen identity information ends up overseas.
The Secret Service provides some online tips for protecting privacy and personal information including credit.
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