Alert 2007-47| July 31, 2007
Fraudulent Regulatory Agency Issuances: Fraudulent Correspondence Regarding the Release of Funds Supposedly under the Control of the International Monetary Unit (IMU) of European Commission (EC) in Belgium
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 All Examining Personnel
Correspondence, allegedly issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regarding restricted funds purportedly under the control of the European Commission, is in circulation. The item is a hoax.
Attached is a copy of this fraudulent correspondence, which is being sent to United States bank customers in an attempt to elicit funds from them. This letter indicates that, in accordance with international monetary policy, monies are being held until the recipient can produce the necessary documents, which include a Money Laundering/Drug Free Clearance Certificate and an Anti-Terrorist Clearance and Capital Transfer Certificate. According to the European Commission’s recent warning, which can be viewed at http://www.eurunion.org/AntiTerrorCertScamWarn.htm and is also attached, victims of this fraud are directed to pay approximately $25,000 USD to obtain these bogus documents.
Any documents claiming that the OCC is involved in holding 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.
The correspondence in question contains forged signatures of actual OCC officials and fictitious telephone numbers that are not associated with the OCC.
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:
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
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