Alert 2008-7| February 1, 2008

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks: Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of The Stephenson National Bank & Trust, Marinette, WI

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 075901011 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a variety of up-front fee scams.

While some of the counterfeit checks may be similar to the authentic items, counterfeit items may be identified by the following traits: checks may be yellow-orange or burgundy in color, do not contain the appropriate bank telephone number of (715) 732-1732, and may include a handwritten date and/or "payable to" information. Items presented to date have been made payable for varying amounts from $2,845 to $6,500.

Due to possible variations in appearance of the bank's cashier's checks and scams, it is suggested that officials of The Stephenson National Bank & Trust be contacted to verify the authenticity of any of the bank's official items, if received from an unknown or questionable source.

The checks are being distributed as part of various up-front fee scams, including overpayment on Internet purchases and house rentals as well as pre-payment of taxes and fees associated with job offers and other bogus contractual obligations. While the scams may be initiated via email, the counterfeit checks have generally been sent to the recipient via a private overnight courier service. Contact information contained within the fictitious emails may include one of the following:

Payment Notification Email – Mrs. Elizabeth Jame, Remittance Manager, Halifax Bank Plc, +44 7024013922, email: [elizarjame@inbox.com] or [jdd121@hd21juk1uk.net]. Recipients of this message are instructed to deposit a check into their bank account and then wire-transfer the proceeds in order to pay for a variety of taxes and fees so that a larger dollar amount may be released.

Job Opening Email – Doris Peter Staffing and Recruiting Department, email: [dorispeter2000562@gmail.com]. The recipient of this message is asked to deposit customer payment checks into their personal bank account and then wire transfer 90 percent of the total amount to a location generally outside of the United States. Recipients are instructed to retain 10 percent as their payment.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of The Stephenson National Bank & Trust cashier's checks, please contact Laura Phelps, Assistant Cashier/Bookkeeping Supervisor, 1820 Hall Avenue, Marinette, WI 54143, by telephone at (715) 735-2376, by fax at (715) 732-1327, or via email at [laura.phelps@snbt.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