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Alert 2010-4 | March 26, 2010

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks: Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of First National Bank of Darlington, Darlington, Wisconsin


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 075903019 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a secret shopping scam.

The counterfeit checks do not resemble the bank’s authentic items and may be identified by the following traits: the instruments are pinkish-blue in color, include the bank’s address in the top-center area, and contain the words “Authorized Signature” below the signature line. The following notification is located in the top-left portion of the check: “NOTICE TO CUSTOMER: THE FILING OF A DECLARATION OF LOSS” FORM AFTER 90 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF ISSUANCE CAN BE FILED FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF THIS CHECK IN THE EVENT IT IS LOST, STOLEN, OR DESTROYED.” The top border of the item includes the following security statement: “THIS CHECK IS VOID WITHOUT A RED & GRAY BORDER AND BACKGROUND PLUS A KNIGHT & FINGERPRINT WATERMARK ON THE BACK. HOLD AT AN ANGLE TO VIEW.” The backside of the check contains an enclosed endorsement area, an area for two fingerprints, and the statement: “TO VIEW WATERMARKS, HOLD AT ANGLE OR UNDER BLACKLIGHT.”

Items presented to date have been made payable in the amounts of $1,492, $1,895, and $3,765.42, contain a remitter name of Mark Lisi, and do not exhibit the bank’s logo.

Because of 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 Darlington suggest they be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank’s cashier’s checks if received from an unknown entity.

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks may contain the letterhead of “Hallmark Marketing & Research Management, Inc., Market Research & Logistics, 530-5th Ave., New York, NY Fax: 1-765-319-2266; Phone: 1-403-383-1048.” The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been selected to represent the company as a secret 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 contact Sandra Anderson or Mike Campbell at 1-403-383-1048 for further information prior to cashing the check.

For additional information and guidance, and to verify the authenticity of First National Bank of Darlington’s cashier’s checks, please contact Amy Smith, Cashier, First National Bank of Darlington, 245 Main Street, PO Box 50, Darlington, Wisconsin 53530, by telephone at (608) 776-4071, by fax at (608) 776-4396, or via email at [].

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

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