Alert 2008-48| December 11, 2008

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks: Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Black Hills Community Bank, N.A., Rapid City, SD

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 091409733 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.

The counterfeit checks bear no resemblance to the authentic items and may be identified by the following traits: the instruments are of unknown color, contain the words “CASHIER’S CHECK” in the upper-center portion of the check followed by an indemnity statement, and include the following security statement in the top border: “For security purposes, the face of this check contains a colored background and microprinting in the border.” The bottom-left section of the item contains the following statement: “Issued by Black Hills Community Bank, Rapid City, S.D., For Inquiries, Call: 1-866-464-9835.” Please note that this telephone number is not associated with the bank. The following security statement is printed between two padlock icons in the bottom-center section: “Security Features Included. Details on Back,” and the statement: “Countersigned if Amount is Over $5,000” appears beneath the signature line.

Items presented to date have been dated December 3, 2008, are made payable in the amount of $4,998, include a remitter name of S.I. Inc, and do not include the bank’s genuine telephone number of (605) 343-2422.

Due to possible variations in the appearance of the bank’s official items and differing scams associated with the counterfeit items, officials of Black Hills Community Bank 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 may contain the letterhead of “Shoppers Inquest Inc., 1000 W Century Avenue, Suite #410, Bismark, ND 58503, 1 (647) 241-3750 or 1 (647) 887-9965.” The letter may be signed by Susan Hutchins; however, the printed name appears as Daniel Haskins, Chief Assignment Co-Ordinator. The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been selected to represent the company as a mystery shopper. 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 telephone either (647) 241-3750 or (647) 887-9965, Ext 100 and then press 1. Note that this telephone number originates from Toronto, Ontario.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Black Hills Community Bank, N.A.’s cashier’s checks, please contact Kevin Dietz, Senior Vice President or Melissa Hood, Black Hills Community Bank, N.A., 821 Mt. Rushmore Road, Suite B, Rapid City, SD 57701, by telephone at (605) 343-2422, or via fax at (605) 791-2576.

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