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A new scam sends New York residents fraudulent letters pretending to be the Secretary of State

A new scam has come about in New York that attempts to gain personal information by claiming the recipient has money due to them.

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 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.