Alert 2008-20| March 11, 2008

Counterfeit Official Checks: Counterfeit Official Checks of Randolph National Bank, Randolph, VT

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 the bank's correct routing number of 011601171 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.

Counterfeit items may be identified by the following traits: checks contain a green border and purple mountain logo in the top left corner. The bank's name and address are printed beneath the logo, and the words "OFFICIAL CHECK" are offset in the upper-right portion of the instrument. The following security statement is contained within the top border: "FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING IN THE BORDER." The bottom border contains the following statement: "THE REVERSE SIDE OF THIS DOCUMENT INCLUDES A UNIQUE CHECK IDENTITY BAR CODE AND AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK. HOLD AT AN ANGLE TO VIEW."

Checks presented to date have been made payable in amounts ranging from $2,950 - $4,950, contain an 8-digit serial number, include an abbreviated routing number of 68-1160/117, and have a remitter of "Shopping Jobs" or "Paid Surveys Resource." Due to possible variations in the appearance of the bank's official items and differing scams associated with the counterfeit or fictitious items, it is suggested that officials of Randolph National Bank be contacted to verify authenticity of any of the bank's official items, if received from an unknown or questionable source.

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks may contain the letterhead of "PAID SURVEYS RESOURCE, PO Box 849 Zion Grove, PA 17985; Tel: 1-204-952-1281; Fax: 1-888-380-8459." Note that the telephone number originates in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The letter may be signed by David Mendez, Director, Human Resources. The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been pre-qualified to be a secret shopper for the company. It is explained that the enclosed official 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 shopper being allotted the remaining funds as payment for his or her mystery-shopper service. Recipients are instructed to fax a completed acceptance form before depositing the check. The letter states that the recipient will then be instructed to wire money to one of several persons located in California or any other city or state, as instructed.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Randolph National Bank's official items, please contact Kathy T. Killian, AVP/Operations, 21 Main Street, PO Box 368, Randolph, VT 05060, by telephone at (802) 728-9611, by fax at (802) 728-4016, or via email at [kkillian@rnbvt.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.

Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance