Fake Department of Transportation (DOT) Letter

  
     
February 24, 2009

BBB of WESTERN MICHIGAN, INC

NEWS RELEASE

News Release #020309
Issued: 02-24-2009
Contact: Ken Vander Meeden
616-774-8236 or Email: bbbceo@iserv.net
www.bbb.org


Attn: Current and Potential
Government Contractors

Fake Department of Transportation
(DOT) Letter
Continues Circulating:
Don’t Believe it!

The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan alerts all potential government contractors that with the passing of the “stimulus” plan which includes so many infrastructure contracts, scams are bound to re-occur again. The BBB system has reported numerous times of fake DOT letters that are faxed to local contractors requesting “authorizations”.

Ken Vander Meeden, local BBB President states,

“With so many contractors looking for work, and the high profile media coverage of the economy, there will be many scams related to contractors hoping for some or any business that is sent out for bid.”

The BBB warns contractors and all contracting personnel in our region to be aware of fraudulent letters re-circulating that appear to be sent from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Local and national businesses alerted the BBB of the fraudulent letter being re-circulated. They received theirs via FAX, which is how this letter comes to places of business. The letter indicates that your company is currently registered as a prospective contractor for procurements issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The letter goes on to state that your business has not submitted its financial information release form, and to be eligible for the procurement the company’s bank account number, bank name, telephone and fax numbers must be submitted along with the “Authorization to Release Financial Information” form via FAX.

Past letter have been signed by a “Bradley K. Wash, Senior Procurement Officer,” but this recent circulation uses the name “Jennifer Donaldson, Senior Procurement Officer.”

RED FLAGS?

  • The unsolicited communication is received by FAX.
  • There is no telephone number listed for the U.S. Department of Transportation representative or contact person.
  • There is a request for personal and sensitive business bank account information.

The U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. confirms that this letter is fraudulent and is an attempt to drain your business bank accounts. According to the U.S. DOT’S website (www.dot.gov) this letter has been circulating since 2005.

BBBADVICE

Every year, businesses lose millions of dollars to Internet, phone and direct mail scammers using a host of different tricks and schemes such as this one. The BBB says Start With Trust: Check out any unsolicited and questionable communications with the BBB before answering them. Train your employees how to recognize business scams such as this one. Never release sensitive information about your business to unknown parties.