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February 1, 2008
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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 091508317 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopper scam.
Counterfeit items may be identified by the following traits: checks may be brown in color 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 bank name and incorrect logo appear in the upper-left corner of the instrument as well as the following incorrect check address information: "110 North 2nd Avenue, PO Box 250, Park Falls, Wisconsin 54552." An incorrect abbreviated routing number of "55-915/831" is located in the upper-right portion of the check beneath an 8-digit serial number. The following statement is centered between two padlock icons within the bottom border of the check: "SECURITY FEATURES INCLUDED. DETAILS ON BACK." Please note that the counterfeits lack the words "CASHIER'S CHECK."
Items presented to date have been made payable for $3,950, contain an 8-digit check serial number, and are dated 01/09/2008. Due to possible variations in appearance of the bank's cashier's checks and scams, it is suggested that officials of First National Bank of Park Falls be contacted to verify the authenticity of any of the bank's official items, if received from an unknown or questionable source.
Correspondence accompanying the checks may contain the letterhead of "FOREMAN, 7 Clark Avenue, THORNHILL, Ontario, CANADA L3T 1S4, A Division of American Survey ResearchORG. 1928 Metcalf Street, Suite 725, HONOLULU, HAWAI 96823." Notice that Hawaii is, indeed, misspelled in the letterhead. The letter may be signed by "Sonia SANTANA, Manager, Human Resources."
The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been selected to be a secret shopper for the company. It explains that the enclosed 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 with a specific dollar amount, with the shopper being allotted the remaining funds as payment for their mystery shopper service.
Recipients are instructed to fax a completed acceptance form to 1-866-205-7026 before depositing the check. Once the recipient has completed the shopping assignment, he or she is to contact the "coordinator" Natalia Noble at 1-902-412-1310 for verification of assignment completion. Note that this telephone number originates out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of First National Bank of Park Falls' cashier's checks, please contact Diane Miller, Vice President/Cashier, P.O. Box 250, 110 N. 2nd Avenue, Park Falls, WI 54552, by telephone at (715) 762-2411, by fax at (715) 762-2416 or via email at [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Consumers who receive counterfeit or fictitious items and associated material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:
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
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