Consumer Alert: The Department of State and Division of Consumer Protection Warn of Fraudulent Letter Scheme Impersonating the Secretary of State
Scammers Create Fictitious Certificates Claiming to be from the Secretary of State
Matter is Under Investigation by NY Attorney General
The New York State Department of State and the Division of Consumer Protection today warned New Yorkers of a fraudulent letter scheme. These illegitimate letters have the heading “Executive Letter of Guarantee” and claim that recipients are due to receive a large payment, supposedly being held by the Department of State, to settle debts relating to the sale of timeshares.
The letters, which include a fraudulent signature from New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado and illicit use of the New York State seal, are not genuine and were not issued by the Secretary of State.
The following image is a sample of the letter sent:
The Department of State has referred the matter to the New York State Attorney General to investigate these fictious certificates for possible criminal prosecution. Anyone who has received a similar letter should immediately report it to the New York Attorney General’s Office at the following address: Real Estate Enforcement Unit, NY State Office of the Attorney General, 28 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10005.
To help protect against these types of scams, the Division of Consumer Protection recommends the following tips:
Exercise caution with all communications you receive, including those that appear to be from a trusted entity.
Inspect the sender’s information to confirm the message was generated from a legitimate source – be suspicious if the reply to address is different from the sending address.
Independently verify the entity’s contact information through an online search engine.
Consider calling the sender at a known good number, not listed within the communication, to confirm they sent the communication.
The Division reminds New Yorkers that government entities will never partner with for profit businesses to solicit consumers hard earned dollars. The Department of State actively responds to the needs of the New Yorkers who engage its services, and will never send consumers solicitations for engagement in the mail.
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist and empower the State’s consumers. For more consumer protection information, call the DCP Helpline at 800-697-1220, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm or visit the DCP website at https://dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection. The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer