DOT mailing has some worried about scam - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

DOT mailing has some worried about scam

MIAMI, FL (KWWL) - Cold hard cash may be coming to your mailbox... but it has all the hallmarks of a scam.

Five dollar bills are being sent randomly with a letter asking for personal information.

Cory Held was shocked when she found a crisp $5 bill inside an envelope sent to "resident."

She didn't believe it for a second.

The letter claimed to be from the Department of Transportation and said the $5 was an incentive for personal information about driving habits.

And while it looks like a scam, the DOT says it's not.

The Federal Government really is sending out 31,000 $5 bills randomly across America.

Ian Grossman is the number two person at the U.S. Department of Transportation. He says the $20 million survey helps determine a $40 billion budget.

But he concedes, they've gotten some curious calls.

"Well understandably it's a rare day when the government sends you money instead of the government asking you to send them money. So, I think that would raise some eyebrows."

Well raise eyebrows it did.

"When you called me back and told me it wasn't a scam, I got even angrier. For the government to spend this kind of money on a mailer like this just infuriated me even more," Held said.

Cory and others thought given the economic crisis, the timing was just plain lousy.

"But the reality is that participation has increased and we're getting the data that we need to make decisions for America's transportation future," Grossman said.

Cory and her husband agreed to take the survey, which arrived priority mail with $4.80 postage and four more dollars inside.

Online Producer:  Adam Amdor

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