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Alert 2007-39
Description: Chester Bancorp

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Chester National Bank, Chester, IL and of Chester National Bank of Missouri, Perryville, MO

To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Director, Office of Thrift Supervision; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel; and All Examining Personnel

Chester Bancorp has reported that counterfeit cashier's checks issued in the name of Chester National Bank and using either a correct routing number of 281970881 or the routing number of affiliate institution, Chester National Bank of Missouri, 081907135, are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam. Note that neither institution issues cashier's checks.

The counterfeit checks resemble the authentic items, but may be identified by the following: the instruments are of unknown color, contain a 7-digit check serial number in the upper-right corner followed by the words "CASHIER'S CHECK." The bank's name and logo appear in the upper-left corner of the instrument, two signature lines are located in the bottom-right portion of the check, and a remitter area is located in the bottom-left corner. The following statement is contained in the top border of the check: "THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED Background ON WHITE PAPER." The bottom border of the check contains the following security statement: "THE BACK OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK. HOLD AT AN ANGLE TO VIEW." A pad-lock icon appears in the right-hand border of the instrument.

Items presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $4,900 and have been dated "June 11th, 2007," and contain a remitter name of Service Solutions Inc. Due to possible variations of appearance, it is suggested that officials of Chester National Bank be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank's official checks, if received from an unknown or questionable source.

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks may contain the letterhead of "Service Solutions Shopping Insite Inc., www.servicesolutionsi.com, 176 Charlotte Street, Peterborough, ON, K9J2T8, Tel/Fax # 1-705-770-0358." Please note that this telephone number originates from Canada. The letter informs the recipient that he or she has been chosen to represent the company as a secret shopper. A statement explains that the enclosed cashier's check is to be used to purchase merchandise at various nationally known merchants and to transfer money using a nationally known wire service. The funds to be spent at each location are divided into specific dollar amounts, with the shopper being allotted the remaining funds as payment for his or her mystery shopper service. The recipient is instructed to call 1-705-770-0358–ext. 200 and listen to the message. The recipient should then state his or her name and wait for the call to be answered. He or she will then receive detailed instructions on how to proceed. The letter is signed by Steven Howellin.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Chester National Bank's official checks, please contact Mary Jo Homan, Treasurer/Vice President, Operations, 1112 State Street, Chester, IL 62233, by telephone at (618) 826-5038, by fax at (618) 826-5727, or via e-mail at [mjh@chesternationalbank.com].

Consumers who receive a counterfeit or fictitious item and associated material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP or, for filing a complaint electronically, via the FTC's Web site at www.ftc.gov.

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canadian scams): by telephone at 1-888-495-8501 or via e-mail at [info@phonebusters.com]. Their Web site, www.phonebusters.com, provides additional contact numbers.

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) – The BBB system serves markets throughout Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States, and is the marketplace leader in advancing trust between businesses and consumers. The international Web site www.bbb.org offers contact information for local BBBs, objective reports on more than two million businesses, consumer scam alerts, and tips on a wide variety of topics that help consumers find trustworthy businesses and make wise purchasing decisions.

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Fraud Complaint Center (scams that may have originated via the Internet) at www.ic3.gov.

  • If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspector Service by telephone at 1-888-877-7644, by mail at U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Office of Inspector General, Operations Support Group, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60606-6100, or via e-mail at http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx.

Additional information concerning this matter that you believe should be brought to the attention of the OCC may be forwarded to:

E-mail: occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov
Mail: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Special Supervision Division, MS 6-4
250 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20219
Fax: (202) 874-5214
Internet: http://www.occ.gov

For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC's anti-fraud resource at: http://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/fraud-resources/index-fraud-resources.html.

/signed/

Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance

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