Alert 2007-58| November 7, 2007
Counterfeit Official Checks: Counterfeit Official Checks of South Carolina Bank and Trust, N.A., Orangeburg, SC
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 011007092 are being presented for payment both locally and nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.
While counterfeit items have a strong resemblance to authentic items, the counterfeit checks may be identified by the following: the checks are blue and green in color and printed on versa paper. The following security statement is located within the top border: "FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING IN THE BORDERS." The following statement can be found in the bottom-center portion of the instrument enclosed by padlock icons: "SECURITY FEATURES INCLUDED. DETAILS ON BACK." The counterfeit items are devoid of the thermal-heat security feature contained within the authentic items.
Checks presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $3,999.99, contain an authorized signature of Ann Anderson, and use a remitter name of Steve Collins. Due to possible variations of appearance of the counterfeit items and scams, it is suggested that officials of South Carolina Bank & Trust, N.A. be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank’s official checks, if received from an unknown or questionable source.
Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit instruments may contain the letterhead of "Money-Op Market Research Inc., www.money-op.com, P.O. Box 1400, New York, NY 10040, Tel: 1-226-200-0281, Fax: 1-866-544-7540." The letter informs the recipient that he or she has been selected to participate in a paid consumer research program. It is explained that the enclosed check is to be used to purchase merchandise at various nationally known merchants as well as to transfer money using a nationally known wire service. The funds to be spent at each location are broken down with a specific dollar amount, with the shoppers being allotted a portion as payment for their mystery shopper service. The total breakdown of expenses equates to $4,999.99, which is $1,000 less than what the counterfeit check is made payable. Recipients are instructed to contact the accounts manager at 226-200-0281 for details on how to complete the remittance forms. Note that this telephone number originates from Kitchener, Ontario. The offer has an expiration date to further entice potential victims to act quickly. The letter may be signed by Serge Burns, Director Human Resources.
For additional information and guidance or to verify the authenticity of South Carolina Bank and Trust, N.A.’s official checks, please contact Dennis Chapman, Security, at 983 John C. Calhoun Drive, Orangeburg, SC 29115, by telephone at (803) 531-0902, by fax at (803) 531-4389, or via email at [firstname.lastname@example.org].
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