Misleading and Fraudulent Marketers are Targeting Carriers to Try and Gain Their Business.
One method is by impersonating the FMCSA.
Unfortunately, we are living in a time where too many dishonest people are using misleading techniques to scare honest people into giving them their business. While this is not the first example we have seen, we have provided a recent example below of a tactic taken by a company trying to impersonate the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This imposter is trying to pressure a newly registered business into paying for services that may not be needed or wanted. At least certainly not provided by individuals willing to stoop to such a level!
These fraudulent marketers take advantage that when a company registers with the FMCSA, basic company information becomes publicly available. They use that information against the applicant by impersonating the FMCSA. Fraudsters have been known to try and contact new applicants by email, mail, phone, and text message.
Here is a recent example of an email impersonating the FMCSA.
In the above message, the sender is trying to impersonate the FMCSA, by using a contact email of @fmscamail.us. This domain is not one used by the FMCSA. The misleading information is highlighted in red.
This is not the only type of message being sent out to carriers. Check out our other blogs here and here for more examples of fraudulent emails, and here for examples of aggressive marketing tactics.
Remember- do not give anyone you don’t know, and trust, access to your FMCSA account.
Here are some things to remember about the FMCSA.
The FMCSA does not:
- contact carriers by telemarketers or “robo-call” automated telephone solicitations.
- request credit cards by telephone. charge a fee for downloadable forms found at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/mission/forms.
The most common topics fraudulent marketers target are:
- Drug and Alcohol Supervisor training
- General FMCSA regulatory and compliance support
- Unified Carrier Registration Compliance
- Biennial Update or Unified Registration System compliance
If you’ve been a target of someone impersonating the FMCSA there are actions you can take.
The FMCSA recommends the following:
- If you’ve been a victim of fraud and have had a loss, you can report this to law enforcement.
- If you’ve given out credit card or banking information, call your financial institution or credit card company immediately.
- If you’ve been contacted with a fraudulent request you can contact the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline at https://www.oig.dot.gov/hotline or call (800) 424-9071.
- You can file a complaint regarding aggressive or misleading marketers by visiting the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/complaint.
FMCSA tips for dealing with an unsolicited request:
- Carefully read written solicitations and notices.
- Make callers slow down and ensure you understand them clearly.
- Confirm you are speaking with a U.S. government official if you are contacted by a telemarketer, receive a fax, email, letter, or text claiming to be a representative of the U.S government.
- Look for a small print disclaimer on the solicitation or notice that states that the company is not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Transportation or FMCSA, or states it is a private entity or company.
- Ask the caller if he or she is an FMCSA official or a duly authorized representative of the U.S. government or a service provider or third-party administrator, before conducting business or providing credit card or banking information. FMCSA does not ask for credit card information over the phone.
- Remember, if a caller or a written communication states they are a service provider or third-party administrator, then they are not an employee of the U.S. Department of Transportation or FMCSA.
Other things to watch for:
- A caller or written solicitation has a name very similar to USDOT/FMCSA but is not, in fact, a U.S. government agency.
- A caller conveys urgency for a carrier to provide credit card or other payment information immediately by telephone or suffer immediate consequences. FMCSA officials and representatives do not ask for credit card numbers by telephone.
- A caller or solicitation states they are “endorsed” by FMCSA. U.S. government agencies do not endorse any businesses or third-party service providers. Motor carrier third-party service providers often provide valuable services but are NOT required by FMCSA. FMCSA provides support free of charge.
- Vague responses from a caller when asked if they are an employee or authorized representative of FMCSA.
While many third-party businesses can be of great service to carriers, no one needs a pushy, dishonest, vague company to try and take advantage of them by using pressure sales techniques. Especially when there are many upstanding service providers that will make sure you get the best services that pertain to you, without the scare tactics.
Further reading at FMCSA.