Alert 2007-45| July 25, 2007

Counterfeit Official Checks: Counterfeit Official Checks of KeyBank National Association, Niagara Falls, NY

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 official checks issued in the bank’s name and using a correct routing number of 102003918 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a variety of lottery scams.

The counterfeit checks may be identified by the following: the checks are either pink-gray in color or gold-white in color and do not contain any watermarks. In addition, the font style differs throughout the face of the check. The following address appears in the top-left portion of the instrument directly under the KeyBank logo: "KEY BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, 800 MAIN STREET, NIAGARA FALLS, NY 14301." The following statement appears along the top border of the check: "FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING IN THE BORDER," and the following statement is present in the bottom-center portion of the check: "SECURITY FEATURES INCLUDED. DETAILS ON BACK."

One group of counterfeit items being presented may be issued in the amount of $4,885.00 and accompanied by a letter from "WINDSOR FINANCIAL GROUP, LOTTO, PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE, READERS DIGEST, SWEEPSTAKES, INTERNET CASINO" notifying the recipient that he or she has won the grand prize in an international promotion program. The recipient is instructed to telephone the claims broker at 519-991-4201 or 519-992-0833. Note that these telephone numbers originate out of Windsor, Ontario. These letters may be signed by Mrs. Susan Kirland, Vice President.

Another group of counterfeit items being presented may be issued in the amount of $3,755.00 and be accompanied by a letter from "BLUE DIAMOND JACKPOT, LOTTO, PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE, READERS DIGEST, SWEEPSTAKES & INTERNET CASINO" notifying the recipient that he or she has won the grand prize in the North American Promotions Program. The recipient is instructed to telephone the claims agent at 613-261-6109 or 613-261-2492. Note that these telephone numbers originate out of Ottawa, Ontario. These letters may be signed by Ms. Lydia Vidic, Director of Promotions.

Due to possible variations of appearance, it is suggested that officials of KeyBank National Association be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank’s official checks, if received from an unknown or questionable source. Authentic official checks contain a correct verification telephone number of 1-800-223-7520, which appears on the back of the instrument.

For additional information and guidance or to verify the authenticity of KeyBank National Association official checks, please contact Helene Bolibrzuch, Financial Crime Investigator via email at [Helene_Bolibrzuch@keybank,com], by telephone at (716) 834-8059, or by fax at (716) 834-4498. Consumers who receive a counterfeit 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 Internet site at www.ftc.gov.
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canadian Scams): by telephone at 1-888-495-8501 or via email at [info@phonebusters.com]. Their Website, www.phonebusters.com, provides additional contact numbers.
  • Better Business Bureau – 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 Website (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.
  • 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 email at https://ehome.uspis.gov/fcsexternal/default.aspx.

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.


Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance