[KHTS] – The latest iteration of a fraudulent letter, claiming to be from the United States Department of Transportation, has appeared in Santa Clarita.
KHTS AM-1220 received a letter by fax from the “Procurement Office” of the U.S. DOT. The letter requested sensitive financial information, including Employer Identification Number, bank name and contact information and bank account number.
Included in the fax was a form to fill in the requested information.
“Our records show that you are currently registered as a prospective contractor for procurements issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation,” the letter reads. “However after reviewing your record we have noticed that you have not submitted your financial information release form.”
This scam was first reported in 2005, according to the DOT website, and since then, multiple versions of the letter have been distributed, typically signed by a “Senior Procurement Officer.”
The letter received by KHTS was signed by “Ralph Schmidt.” Other recent letters reported by the DOT were signed by “Louis James” or “Julie Weynel.”
The current Senior Procurement Executive at the DOT is Willie H. Smith.
The DOT does not require businesses to submit financial information to be eligible for procurement, according to their website.
“The DOT Office of the Inspector General is being kept informed of these incidents and is working to halt them,” said the DOT in a statement. “We’re also working to keep the public informed with notices on both the Office of the Senior Procurement Executive and Office of the Inspector General websites. We will remain vigilant on this matter in order to keep our current and potential suppliers less vulnerable to these fraudulent activities.”
If you or your business has received one of these letters, do not the respond to the fax number printed on the letter. Instead, contact the DOT Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-424-9071.
Those who have already responded to the scam should notify their bank, contact the Inspector General and report the incident to SCV Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121. They can also contact the regional U.S. Secret Service Office in Los Angeles at 213-894-4830.
For more information about the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Procurement Office scam, click here.