Alert 2008-25| June 12, 2008

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks: Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of The First National Bank of Talladega, Talladega, AL

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 062200961 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 light blue in color and contain both a darker blue logo and top and bottom border. The following security statement as well as a padlock logo is located within the bottom border: "THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS SECURITY FEATURES. SEE REVERSE." The MICR line is printed beneath the bottom border.

Items presented to date have included a remitter of "Angela Newton," have been made payable in the amount of $4,955, and contain a 6-digit check serial number beginning with the "148" series.

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks may contain the letterhead of "Shadow Shopper, 353 Sherbrook Street, Unit 12, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2W7; Tel: 1-905-462-1614; Fax: 1-484-952-4950." Note that this telephone number originates in Milton, Ontario, and the fax number originates in Pennsylvania. The letter may be signed by Scott Nicholson, Human Resource Manager. The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been selected to participate in a paid consumer research program as a "shadow shopper." It is explains that the enclosed cashier's check is to be used to transfer money using a nationally known wire service to "Gretchen Cline in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada." Recipients are instructed to contact 1-905-462-1614 prior to depositing the check and are required to keep the assignment confidential in accordance with the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which is enclosed with the check.

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 The First National Bank of Talladega 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 Chad Thomas, Assistant Vice President/Auditor, 120 E. North Street, Talladega, AL 35160, by telephone at (256) 761-2298, by fax at (256) 362-3929, or via email at [cthomas@fnbtalladega.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