Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fraud Alert: Scam Seeks Contractor Bank Account Numbers

Contractors and public agencies should be aware of a scam that asks contractors for their bank account information. 

Contents of Letter:  The scammers fax a letter to a contractor on U.S. Department of Transportation letterhead, that has the contractor's name and address on the letter.  Here's the content of the letter:

Our records show that you are currently registered as a prospective contractor for procurements issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  However after reviewing your record we have noticed that you have not submitted your financial information release form. 

Your financial institution's privacy policy may not allow it to release your financial information even to government institutions without your consent; therefore we must have such form on file before we can move on with any procurement decisions. 

In September 2013, the procurement plan for the fourth quarter of 2013 will be finalized.  To be eligible for procurement with the U.S. Department of Transportation, you must submit the abovementioned form to us by fax at 202-318-6224. 

Please make sure your fax is preceded by a cover page so we may correctly identify your company.

Signature on letter:  The copy of this scam letter that I've seen was signed by "Julie Weynel, Senior Procurement Officer" and was dated September 20, 2013.

Form to complete:  The form attached with the letter includes the contractor's name and DUNS number.  It the requests the following information:

  • EIN
  • Bank name
  • Branch phone
  • Branch fax:
  • Operating account number
Before the blanks on the form for the "signing officer" from the contractor to sign the document, there is the following statement: "We authorize Department of Transportation to obtain financial information on our accounts held at your bank."

USDOT Inspector General:  The U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General has issued a "Fraud Letter Warning" for this and similar letters.  USDOT "does not request financial information from prospective contractors wishing to submit a bid proposal or quote."  Click here to read the "Fraud Letter Warning" from USDOT, which also includes the names of other individuals besides "Julie Weynel" who have signed these fraudulent letters.

Action steps: 

  • Pass the word along:  Let contractors and public agencies know about this scam and that contractors should not respond to the letter.
  • Report letters to USDOT:  If you would like to report a fraudulent request for information to USDOT, please contact the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline at hotline@oig.dot.gov or by calling 1 (800) 424-9071.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2013 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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