It’s that wonderful time of year again – the time when the weather gets frosty, grocery and retail stores play holiday tunes non-stop, and scams targeting trucking companies abound. This week two scams surfaced to prey on the trucking industry that symbolize the season perfectly. One is an old scam, an American tradition that reminds us of days gone by, while the other is shiny and new and comes to us from up north.
The old one you should recognize from when we reported on it back in early October. The gist of it is that the scammers send you a fax saying that you need to provide them with your personal data and bank account information for an “Authorization to Release Financial Information.” The faxes are signed by Julie Weynel, supposedly a senior procurement officer for the U.S. Department of Transportation Procurement Office. The faxes are sent with official looking DOT letterhead and have a return address for Washington, D.C., but other than that there is little other identifying information. Similar scams have been in practice since 2005.
As you might imagine, the FMCSA has confirmed that even if she does exists, Julie Weynel is not an employee of the U.S. DOT.
“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.
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.
The new scam is one perpetrated by Canadian companies. The FBI is calling it “Operation Canscam” and so far it has affected U.S. trucking and logistics companies, lumber and construction material retailers, auto parts retailers, tire retailers and paint supply companies. A Canadian company will call a U.S. company, get a line of credit, and then have items shipped up north. Since the Canadian business never actually gave out any financial information or paid a single penny, the company is never paid for their product, and the trucking companies aren’t paid for shipping.
The FBI has issued this list of allegedly fraudulent Canadian businesses involved in the scheme:
Xpress Auto Parts
Point Tech Performer, Inc.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of this scheme, the FBI is asking you to call (877) 236-8947 or email email@example.com.
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