Alert 2008-24| May 28, 2008

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks: Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Golden Bank, N.A., Houston, TX

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 cashier's checks issued in the bank's name and using a correct routing number of 113015500 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.

The counterfeit checks are similar to the authentic items but may be identified by the following: the instruments are of unknown color and include the following security statement in the top border: "THIS CHECK IS VOID WITHOUT A RED & GRAY BORDER AND BACKGROUND PLUS A KNIGHT & FINGERPRINT WATERMARK ON THE BACK." The following phrase is printed beneath the signature line in the lower-right portion of the instrument: "SIGNATURE AREA CONTAINS A KNIGHT & FINGERPRINT CHECK WORDING." The following additional security statement, which differs slightly from the authentic item, is located under the words "Cashier's Check" in the lower-left section of the check: "THE PURCHASE OF INDEMNITY BOND WILL BE REQUIRED BEFORE ANY CASHIER'S CHECK OF THIS BANK WILL BE REPLACED OR REFUNDED IN THE EVENT IT IS LOST, MISPLACED, STOLEN OR DESTROYED."

Items presented to date have included a remitter of "****CLOSED CD #60254****" and been made payable in the amounts of $3,550 and $8,500.

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks may contain the letterhead of "BMA CONSUMER RESEARCH GROUP, P.O. BOX 4440, TRENTON, NJ 08618; Tel: 1-514-585-0396; Fax: 1-515-474-6830." Note that these telephone numbers originate in Montreal, Quebec. The letter may be signed by Rickey Zackari, Manager, Human Resources. The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been selected to participate in a paid consumer research program as a mystery shopper. It is explained that the enclosed cashier's 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 by 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 contact Ms. Natasha Jacob at 1-514-585-0396 to confirm receipt of the check. The letter also indicates that the offer expires on a specific date.

Due to possible variations in the appearance of the bank's official items and differing scams associated with the counterfeit or fictitious items, officials of Golden Bank, N.A., recommend that any recipient who receives any of the bank's official items from an unknown or questionable source should contact the bank to verify the item's authenticity.

For additional information and guidance, please contact Golden Bank, N.A.'s Fraud Department, 9315 Bellaire Boulevard, Houston, TX 77036, by telephone at (713) 777-3838, or by fax at (713) 596-6939.

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