The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


USDA: More fraudulent letters and a call

The Agriculture Department warned over the weekend that additional fraudulent letters and at least one fraudulent phone call purportedly coming from a USDA procurement officer seeking personal information have been received by individuals in a number of states and asked that anyone receiving the letter or call report the information to USDA.

The phone call was received by an individual in Indiana, and letters are being sent by fax to individuals and businesses in a growing number of states, 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.”

“These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information,” USDA said. “Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General.”

Anyone who suspects they have received such a letter or have been called by someone representing themselves as being from USDA seeking personal information should contact USDA at or call 202-720-9448.