Alert 2008-32| July 28, 2008

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks: Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Community First National Bank of West Plains, West Plains, MO

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 086518765 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.

Counterfeit items are similar to the authentic checks, but may be identified by the following traits: checks may be green in color with a dark green solid border and contain the following security statement in the top border “FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING IN THE BORDER.” The words “CASHIER’S CHECK” are contained within a solid colored box in the top center portion of the instrument, and the bank’s logo is followed by the following address: “1330 Southern Hills Center, P.O. Box 570, West Plans, MO 65775.” The following security statement is located in the bottom border: “THE REVERSE SIDE OF THIS DOCUMENT INCLUDES A UNIQUE CHECK IDENTIFICATION CODE AND AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK. HOLD AT AN ANGLE TO VIEW.”

Items presented to date have been made payable in the amounts of $4,950.00 or $4,998.00, may include a forged signature of bank employee Melissa Chitwood as well as initials of BS, and contain a remitter name of Johnson Newman. 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 Community First National Bank of West Plains suggest they be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank’s cashier’s checks if received from an unknown or questionable source.

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks will most likely be mailed from Canada and may contain the letterhead of “Business, 5508 Greens Square Drive, Suite #206, Minnetonka, MN 55343-9602.” The letter may be signed by Anthony Bret (Director, Operations). The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been selected to represent the company as a research personnel or customer service evaluator. It is explained that the enclosed cashier’s check is to be used during the assignment to make purchases at various merchants and to transfer money using a nationally known wire service. Recipients are instructed to contact Bryan Taylor at (514) 570-5281 for detailed instructions 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.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Community First National Bank of West Plains’ cashier’s checks, please contact Ron Thompson, Security Officer, 1330 Southern Hills Center, PO Box 678, West Plains, MO 65775, by telephone at (417) 255-2265, by fax at (417) 255-2266, or via email at [ron@com1nb.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.

/signed/

Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance