Businesses warned about international scam
by Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
October 5, 2011
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING – Oct. 5, 2011 - At least one local business recently came very close to being victimized by a large-scale international scam, and the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is issuing an advisory.
Sheriff Rich Haskell said that a business in Green River, which he declined to identify, received a letter last month purportedly from Equifax in Atlanta, Georgia. The letter was addressed to the business’s owner as a "prospective contractor for procurements issued by the U.S. Federal Government" and informed him that "after reviewing your record we have noticed that you have not submitted your financial information release form."
The "form" asked for the business’s bank account information, which was provided. Not long after, the business’s bank received a wire transfer request that included the business’s account number. The transfer was for over $30,000 and was directed to a bank in St. Petersburg, Russia. Instead of carrying out the transfer, suspicious bank officials instead contacted the business and the funds were never sent.
Haskell explained that while Equifax is a legitimate credit-reporting business that is in fact located in Atlanta, the letter was completely fraudulent. "That’s one thing the scammers do to make their scheme seem legitimate – use the name of a genuine firm to cloak who they are and what they are doing."
Officials said there were a number of things on the letter that warned it was not legitimate: It was a form letter, with the heading and salutation in a different font style than that of the body of the letter, there was no telephone number listed on the letterhead for "Equifax," only a post office box in Atlanta, the term "Government division" on the letterhead used a small "d" when it should have been capitalized, and the fax phone number for the "form" carried a 202 area code, which is Washington DC, not Georgia.
Haskell said the same anti-scam precautions apply for businesses as for individuals: never provide personal or account information to anyone until you have checked things over.
Equifax has posted a warning concerning the scam on their website at www.equifax.com.
County detectives are coordinating their ongoing investigation with federal officials.