Alert 2007-42| July 16, 2007

Counterfeit Money Orders and Official Checks: Counterfeit Money Orders and Official Checks of The American National Bank, Sidney, NE

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 money orders and official checks issued in the bank's name and using a correct routing number of 104102202 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.

Counterfeit items may be identified by the following traits: The money orders are of unknown color with a darkened border along the top of the instrument. The following statement is contained within the top border: "SECURITY WARNING: THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT FEATURES A COLORED Background AND MICROPRINT BORDERS. THE REVERSE SIDE FEATURES ARTIFICIAL WATERMARKS."

The checks are also of unknown color and contain the following statement within the top border: "THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED Background ON WHITE PAPER." The bottom border contains the following statement: "THE BACK OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK – HOLD AT AN ANGLE TO VIEW."

On both the money orders and the official checks, the bank's logo appears in the upper- right corner and is followed by "American National Bank, 901 Tenth Avenue, Sidney, NE 69162-0019." The corresponding words of either "Money Order" or "Official Checks" are located in the top-center portion of the check in a normal type font and are not enclosed in a shaded box. The words "Date" and "Amount" are located in the right-center portion of the check within shaded rectangular-shaped boxes. The statement "NOT VALID FOR OVER $1,000:00" appears below the dollar amount on the money order, and the statement "NOT VALID FOR OVER $10,000:00" appears below the dollar amount on the official check. Note the typo of a colon in the dollar amount. The checks contain only one signature line.

Items presented to date contain a 5-digit serial number beginning in the "16" series and are made payable in amounts between $998.77 and $4,990.00. Correspondence accompanying the checks may contain the letterhead of "SurveyLot.com, 5750 East Main Street, Mesa, Arizona 85205, 1-800-771-1261, Fax: 1-866-545-6744."

The letter informs the recipient that he or she has been chosen to represent the company as a secret shopper. A statement explains that SurveyLot.com has been engaged by "Moneygram Money Transfer" to evaluate customer service performance. The enclosed official check or money order is to be used to purchase a Moneygram at a local Wal-Mart store, pay for associated service fees, and to retain a small portion as payment for service. The recipient is instructed to call 800-771-1262 prior to cashing the check. The letter may be signed by Sean Stevenson.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of The American National Bank's money orders, please contact Eileen Beeken, Cashier, PO Box 19, Sidney, NE 69162, by telephone at (308) 254-5536, by fax at (308) 254-5547, or via email at [ebeeken@anbsidney.com].

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

  • U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Inspector General (OIG): by telephone at (800) 359-3898 or by visiting the OIG website.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): by telephone at (877) FTC-HELP or, for filing a complaint electronically, via the FTC's website.
  • National Consumers League (NCL): by telephone at (202) 835-3323 or by email. To file a fraud complaint, visit the NCL fraud website.
  • 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 website 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).
  • 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.

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

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
www.occ.gov
occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov

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

/signed/

Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance