Alert 2008-31| June 30, 2008

Fraudulent Regulatory Agency Issuances: Fraudulent Correspondence Regarding the Release of Funds Supposedly under the Control of the United States Consular in the United Kingdom

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; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel and All Examining Personnel

Correspondence, allegedly issued by William H. Webster of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding restricted funds purportedly under the control of the United States Consular in the United Kingdom, is in circulation. The item is a hoax.

This fraudulent correspondence, which is being sent as a letter to United States bank customers in an attempt to elicit funds from them, is attached. The letter indicates that the DHS has placed an immediate stop on a large sum of money to be transferred into the recipient’s bank account. The letter points out to the recipient the consequences related to receiving such large dollar amounts without adhering to the Homeland Security Laws of the United States/Canada, as written in the "Patriotic Act of 2001." The letter further states that the recipient must obtain an Anti-Terrorist Clearance Certificate prior to the transfer of funds. According to the European Commission’s recent warning (attached and viewable at http://www.eurunion.org/ScamWarnings.htm), victims of this fraud are directed to pay approximately $25,000 USD to obtain these bogus documents.

Any documents claiming that the DHS is involved in holding any funds for the benefit of any individual or entity are fraudulent. The Department does not participate in the transfer of funds for, or on behalf of, individuals, business enterprises, or governmental entities.

The correspondence in question contains a forged signature of William H. Webster, listed as Director, Homeland Security Department, but who is currently Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council in the Office of Policy within the DHS, and a fictitious telephone number that is not associated with the DHS. The Department strongly discourages recipients from responding in any manner to this correspondence.

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

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