CONSUMER ALERT: Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) Letter Scam

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District residents should be cautious as a new scam is making the rounds where fraudsters use letterhead from the District’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to steal financial and personal information from parents of children who attend District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) or teachers in child development facilities and their families. These fake letters demand money or payment of fines relating to an investigation by OSSE or promise the recipient a job at OSSE. In some cases, the fake letters request personal and financial information because they claim the recipient will receive a refund. Scammers can use this information to make unauthorized withdrawals from bank accounts.

If you receive a letter that appears to be from OSSE requesting financial information, do not respond to the letter and call OSSE directly at (202) 724-7756 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

If you believe you are a victim of this scam, contact the Metropolitan Police Department’s Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit at 202-727-4159 or mpd.fraud-unit@dc.gov. You can also report the scam to OAG by calling 202-442-9828 or emailing consumer.protection@dc.gov.

Here are some general tips to safeguard against payment solicitation or identity theft scams:

  1. Refuse to give financial information to an unsolicited call or letter: If you get an unsolicited request asking for financial information or demanding payment, call the company or agency directly at the telephone number on their website. Remember, scam artists can use fake letterhead and devices that spoof legitimate phone numbers on Caller ID.
     
  2. Beware of something too good to be true: Were you not expecting a refund check or don’t remember entering a sweepstakes contest that has claimed you’re the winner? Beware of requests for personal and financial information that seem too good to be true. Trust your instinct because it’s probably a scam.
     
  3. Pay with a credit card when possible: Credit cards—rather than checks, wire transfers, debit cards, or gift cards—offer greater protections to dispute charges when goods or services are not delivered as promised.  
     
  4. Report scams to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG): If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact OAG by calling 202-442-9828, emailing consumer.protection@dc.gov , or submitting a complaint online.

OAG has the authority to investigate and prosecute scammers who target District residents. You can learn more tips by reading our free consumer protection resources at oag.dc.gov/ConsumerProtection.