Alert 2008-9| February 7, 2008

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks: Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Ballinger National Bank, Ballinger, TX

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 111302600 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopper scam as well as a lottery scam.

Counterfeit items may be identified by the following traits: checks may be green in color with a dark green border and white edge, but lack any background design. The bank's name and address of "900 Hutchings Avenue, Ballinger, TX 76821-0660" appear in the upper-left corner of the instrument, and the following security statement is printed within the top border: "FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING IN THE BORDER." The checks appear to be computer generated, contain an 8-digit serial number in the upper-right corner, and contain the word "VOID" throughout when photocopied. The words "Authorized Signature" are printed beneath the signature line, and the following security statement is printed within the bottom border: "THE REVERSE SIDE OF THIS DOCUMENT INCLUDES A UNIQUE CHECK IDENTITY BAR CODE AND AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK. HOLD AT AN ANGLE TO VIEW."

Items presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $3,695, contain an incorrect account number of "589752137," lack any underscoring, and include an abbreviated routing number of 64-130/280. Due to possible variations in appearance of the bank's cashier's checks and scams, it is suggested that officials of Ballinger National Bank be contacted to verify the authenticity of any of the bank's official items, if received from an unknown or questionable source.

The prize award winning notification correspondence accompanying some of the checks may contain the letterhead of "Winners Capital Trust Financial To Improve The Way People Live, P .O Box 9088, Wildword, NJ 08260-9088, Telephone 1-905-920-5264" and contain the typos as underlined above. Note that the telephone number provided originates out of Hamilton, Ontario. The recipient is informed of his or her winning status of a large dollar amount and is instructed to deposit the enclosed check into his or her bank account immediately to assist with the local taxes and administrative fees. Once the fees are paid, the full winning amount will be released. The recipient is further instructed to contact claim agent Robert Elliot by a specific date, or the prize will be forfeited. This letter may be signed by Edwin Brown. The mystery shopper correspondence may contain the letterhead of "Maximum Paid Surveys Inc, www.maximumpaidsurveys.com, 5700 Will Clayton, Humble TX 77338, Tel: 1-905-920-8681, Fax: 1-866-544-7540." 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 by a specific dollar amount, with the shopper being allotted the remaining funds as payment for his or her mystery shopper service. The letter may be signed by Cathy Bradley.

The recipient is instructed to fax a completed acceptance form to 1-866-544-7540 before depositing the check. As noted in the letter, he or she will then be instructed as to who and where to wire transfer funds ("Paricia Allman, Fontana, CA; Carla Scott, Sanata Anna, CA; and Faith Synder, Santa Monica, CA"). Once the recipient has completed the shopping assignment, he or she is to contact the Accounts Manager immediately with the wire transfer control/reference number as well as for details on completing remittance forms. Note that this telephone number also originates out of Hamilton, Ontario.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Ballinger National Bank's cashier's checks, please contact David Springer, President, P.O. Box 660, Ballinger, TX 76821, by telephone at (325) 365-3512, by fax at (325) 365-2728, or via email at [dave.springer@verizon.net].

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