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Alert 2008-29
Description: Borrego Springs Bank, N.A.

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Borrego Springs Bank, N.A., La Mesa, CA

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

The above-named bank has reported that counterfeit cashier’s checks issued in the bank’s name and using a correct routing number of 122239584 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.

The counterfeit checks do not resemble the authentic items and may be identified by the following traits:  the instruments are light maroon in color with a dark maroon top border.  The bank’s name is printed within a gray box in the upper-left section of the check and followed by an exclamation mark.  A telephone number of 1-877-892-8305 is located directly beneath the bank’s name and address.  Note that this telephone number is not associated with the bank, but rather with the scammer.  The following security statement is located within the top border of the check:  “FOR SECURITY PURPOSES THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING IN THE BORDER.”  The following security statement is located within the bottom border surrounded by padlock icons:  “SECURITY FEATURES INCLUDED.   DETAILS ON BACK.” The MICR line is printed below this statement, and the words “AUTHORIZED SIGNATURE” are printed below the signature line in the lower-right portion of the check.  Items presented to date have included a remitter of “Shoppers Confidential, Inc.,” have been made payable in the amount of $4,494, and include an 8-digit check serial number. 

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks may contain the letterhead of “Shoppers Confidential Inc., www.shoppersconfidential.com, 1167 Rymal Road East, Hamilton, ON L8W 3M7, Tel/Fax #1-888-862-6492.”  The letter may be signed by Adam Herbert, Chief Assignment Co-Ordinator.  The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been pre-selected to represent the company as a mystery shopper.  It is explains that the enclosed cashier’s check is to be used during the assignment to make purchases at various merchants and to transfer money using a nationally known wire service.  Recipients are instructed to contact 1-888-862-6492 prior to depositing the check and are required to keep the assignment confidential in accordance with the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which is enclosed with the check.

Due to possible variations in the appearance of the bank’s official items and differing scams associated with the counterfeit or fictitious items, officials of Borrego Springs Bank, N.A., recommend that any recipient who receives any of the bank’s official items from an unknown or questionable source should contact the bank to verify the item’s authenticity.

For additional information and guidance, please contact Michele Betts, Assistant Vice President/Senior Operations & Compliance Officer, 7777 Alvarado Road, Suite 515, La Mesa, CA  91941, by telephone at (619) 668-5159, ext. 271, by fax at (619) 403-5191, or via e-mail at [mbetts@b-s-b.net]. 

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 http://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 http://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 https://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