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USDA warns of fraudulent letters

The Agriculture Department over the weekend issued a warning that individuals and businesses have received fraudulent letters seeking personal information.

USDA said that agency officials learned late Friday afternoon that fraudulent letters are being sent by fax to individuals and businesses in at least four states. The letters purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information.

“These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information,” USDA said in a news release.

“The fraudulent letters bear USDA’s logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as ‘Frank Rutenberg’ using a title of ‘Senior Procurement Officer.’ Letters have been received by fax in Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but may have also been sent to other states. Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General.”