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Alert 2005-12 | July 19, 2005

Fraudulent Regulatory Agency Issuances: Fraudulent emails regarding the release of funds supposedly under the control of Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) officials


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; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel and Examining Personnel

Please be advised that emails allegedly issued by the OCC regarding restricted funds supposedly under its control continue to circulate.  Any emails or other documents claiming that the OCC is holding, or has placed a hold on, any funds for the benefit of any individual or entity are fraudulent.  The OCC does not participate in the transfer of funds for, or on behalf of, individuals, business enterprises, or governmental entities.  Additionally, the OCC does not establish, maintain, or control any deposit accounts for, or in the name of, any individuals, businesses, or governments. 

The emails in question, which contain forged signatures of actual OCC officials, falsely claim that the OCC or other federal bank regulatory agency is holding payments owed by foreign governments or foreign organizations.  The emails encourage the recipient to reply to a hyperlink (email) address so that the funds can be released, warning that a delay in responding might cause the OCC to cancel the obligations due to the recipient.  Of course, the hyperlink, as well as telephone and facsimile numbers contained in the email, are not those of any OCC office or official.

These emails are originating from many sources throughout the world. They appear similar to documents referenced in previous OCC alerts.  See also OCC Alerts: 2004-3, 2004-11, and 2001-5 and their attachments.

Before responding in any manner to any proposal supposedly issued by the OCC that requests personal information or personal account information, or that requires the payment of any fee in connection with the proposal, you should take steps to verify that the proposal is legitimate.  At a minimum, the OCC recommends that you:

  • Contact the OCC directly to verify the legitimacy of the proposal, either: (1) by using the Internet (using the OCC’s Web address, found at; (2) by mail to the OCC’s Enforcement & Compliance (E&C) Division, 250 E Street, SW; Mail Stop 8-10, Washington, DC 20219, Attn: E&C Division Director; (3) by using the E&C Division’s facsimile number, (202) 874-5301; or (4) by calling the E&C Division, (202) 874-4800; 
  • Do not rely upon the contact information contained in the email in determining whether or not a proposal is legitimate;
  • Review the OCC alerts and related information, which can be accessed on the OCC’s Website (again, at under the subdirectory labeled “Issuances;” and
  • If the proposal appears to be fraudulent, and the proposal was received by either email or the Internet, please report the incident to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC).  Please go to the IFCC Website at and follow the instructions for filing a complaint. 

Any information regarding the subject of this or any other alert that you wish to bring to the attention of the OCC may be sent to


Brian C. McCormally
Enforcement & Compliance Division