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Alert 2006-63 | November 8, 2006

Counterfeit Cashier's Checks: Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Winona National Bank, Winona, MN


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 091900216 are being presented for payment locally and nationwide in connection with a mystery shopper scam.

Counterfeit items may be identified by the following traits: The checks are brown in color with a green swirled background. The bank's name and logo appear in the upper-left corner of the check with the words "Cashier's Check" printed in the top-center portion of the item and enclosed in a box. The center of the instrument contains a rectangle with six arrows pointing towards the drawer name and the dollar amount of the check. The top portion of the rectangular area contains the phrase "Match the amount in words with the amount in numbers." To the right of the box is the drawer bank information followed by an authorized signature line. The remitter information appears directly beneath the signature line.

Items presented to date contain a check number of 0014588, are payable in the amount of $3,560, and include a remitter name of MysteryShop, Inc.

Due to the volume and constant variation of counterfeit official items drawn on Webster Bank, N.A., approving officials should verify the authenticity of any such check directly with Webster Bank, N.A.

Correspondence accompanying the checks may contain the letterhead of "Mysteryshop Inc.,", Suite 290, 80 Queen Street, Kitchener, ON N2H 6L4, 519-694-4674 and may be signed by Susan Hutchins, Human Resources Manager.

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 519-694-4674–ext. 200, listen to the message, and then press 1. 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.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Winona National Bank's cashier's checks, please contact Maureen Denzer, Compliance Officer, 204 Main Street, PO Box 499, Winona, MN 55987, by telephone at (507) 454-9249, by fax at (507) 454-9201, or via email at [].

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

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

For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC's anti-fraud resource page.

Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance