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Alert 2014-7
Description: First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Lakewood

Counterfeit Cashier's Checks of First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Lakewood, Lakewood, Ohio

To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks and Federal Savings Associations; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (Districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsels; and All Examining Personnel

The above-named bank has reported that at least two different counterfeit cashier’s checks issued in the name of First Federal Lakewood are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a variety of internet scams, including but not limited to fictitious online auctions, job opportunities, lottery winnings, and beneficiary payments.

While the counterfeit checks resemble the bank’s authentic checks, counterfeit items may be identified by several traits:

  • One of the following security statements may be located in the top border: "WARNING, THIS DOCUMENT HAS SECURITY FEATURES IN THE PAPER" or "THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK."
  • The bank logo in the upper-left corner presents in a narrow black font.
  • The printing in the lower-left corner of the checks is not appropriately spaced, but rather garbled.
  • The reverse side of the checks may include the wording, "PLEASE ENDORSE HERE" in the top-left corner. The following statement is separated by the last line of the endorsement section: "DO NOT WRITE, STAMP, OR SIGN BELOW THIS LINE. RESERVED FOR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION."
  • A security feature box may also be included on the back of the counterfeit check followed by the language, "Federal Banking Act 1947 – Federal reserve Reg CC."

Counterfeit checks presented to date have been made payable in varying amounts, including $2,150, $9,860, and $35,000, although the lower amounts are more common. A remitter name of Bridge Sofia may also appear on the "Customer’s Signature or Name" line.

For additional information and to verify the authenticity of First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Lakewood’s cashier’s checks, please contact Security and Legal Supervisor Nicole Herttua by mail at 14806 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, OH 44107; by telephone at (800) 966-7300, ext. 5635; by fax at (216) 529-2732; or via e-mail at nherttua@ffl.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 (877) FTC-HELP or, for filing a complaint electronically, via the FTC’s Web site at www.ftc.gov.
  • 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 Web site www.bbb.org offers contact information for local BBBs, objective reports on more than 2 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 Internet Crime Complaint Center (to report scams that may have originated via the Internet). Its Web site is www.ic3.gov.
  • If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by telephone at (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 the online complaint form at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx.

Additional information concerning this matter that should be brought to the attention of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) may be forwarded to

 E-mail:occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov
 Mail:Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Special Supervision Division
400 7th St. SW, Suite 3E-218; MS 8E-12
Washington, DC 20219
 Phone:(202) 649-6450
 Fax:(571) 293-4925
 Internet:www.occ.gov

For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC’s anti-fraud resource at www.occ.gov/fraudresources.htm.

 

Ellen M. Warwick
Director for Enforcement and Compliance