Date: August 30, 2010
Counterfeit Official Checks of First National Bank of Gillette, Gillette, WY
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 official checks issued in the bank's name and using a correct routing number of 102301050 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.
The counterfeit checks resemble the bank's authentic items but may be identified by the following traits: the instruments are blue in color and include the following security statement in the top border: "PRINTED WATERMARK PAPER COLORED BACKGROUND." Another security statement appears beneath the dollar amount line, which reads: "This document has a multi-color background, a micro-print signature line, and a holographic foil title; 'absent' of these features will indicate a copy."
Items presented to date have been made payable in varying amounts, with the majority presenting for $3,250, contain a remitter name of Bart P Burrows, and include check numbers in the numbering range of 329629 and higher. The counterfeit items do not contain the hologram.
Due to possible variations between the appearance of the bank's authentic items and the counterfeit items associated with the scam, officials of First National Bank of Gillette suggest they be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank's official checks if received by an unknown entity.
Potential victims are solicited via e-mail from an individual using the name of Neshan Balian. The solicitation purports to originate from Secret Shopper, alleges to be a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), and outlines the duties of a secret shopper. The assignment centers on investigating local wire services. The letter states that the check the victim receives is to be taken to the bank "for instant cashing" and then he or she is to proceed directly to the wire center to immediately wire money to the location that will be e-mailed to them. There is a short application form that is to be completed and e-mailed back. The letter may be signed by Trevor Williams, Recruiting Department.
For additional information and guidance, and to verify the authenticity of First National Bank of Gillette's official checks, please contact the bank's Bookkeeping Department at 319 South Gillette Avenue, Gillette, WY 82716, by telephone at (307) 686-3340, or by fax at (307) 686-3390.
Consumers who receive a counterfeit or fictitious item and associated material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC): by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP or, for filing a complaint electronically, via the FTC’s Web site at www.ftc.gov.
- Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) – Businesses often arrange for mystery shoppers through independent companies, many of which are members of the MSPA. To verify the legitimacy of an organization, visit www.mysteryshop.org.
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canadian scams): by telephone at 1-888-495-8501 or via e-mail at [email@example.com]. Their Web site, www.phonebusters.com, provides additional contact numbers.
- 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 international Web site www.bbb.org offers contact information for local BBBs, objective reports on more than two 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 (FBI) Internet Fraud Complaint Center (scams that may have originated via the Internet) at www.ic3.gov.
- If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspector Service by telephone at 1-888-877-7644, 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 e-mail at postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx.
Additional information concerning this matter that you believe should be brought to the attention of the OCC may be forwarded to:
|Mail:||Office of the Comptroller of the Currency|
Special Supervision Division, MS 6-4
250 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20219
For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC's anti-fraud resource at: https://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/fraud-resources/index-fraud-resources.html.
Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance