Alert 2014-14| February 25, 2014
Counterfeit Cashier's Checks: Counterfeit Cashier's Checks of First National Bank, Lenoir City, Tenn.
Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks and Federal Savings Associations; All State Banking Authorities; Chair, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (Districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsels; and All Examining Personnel
The above-named bank has reported that counterfeit cashier’s checks using a correct routing number of 064201243 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a secret-shopper scam.
While the counterfeit checks resemble the bank’s authentic checks, counterfeit items may be identified by several traits:
- The check contains the words “PAY TO THE ORDER OF” next to the payee line.
- The signature of Jamie Mayfield appears beneath the words “Authorized Signature” in the bottom right portion of the check.
- A padlock icon and the letters “NP” appear in the bottom right-hand corner of the check.
- On the reverse side of the check, a payee signature box appears at the top that includes this security statement: “WARNING: THE BACK OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A SIMULATED WATERMARK. HOLD AT 45° ANGLE TO VIEW.”
- A security box with a padlock icon and security statement appears in the bottom portion of the reverse side of the check.
Counterfeit checks presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $2,250 and contain a remitter name of Jinni B. Redmond.
The bank has reported that the secret-shopper scam works as follows. Potential victims are initially contacted through emails from Karen Scott [email@example.com]. The emails inform the potential victims that their secret shopper applications were reviewed and that they were selected for assignments. The emails explain that they will receive checks in the mail for deposit into their bank accounts. Within 24 hours of the deposits, the potential victims are to use small amounts of the money to shop at a well-known retail store and to use the majority of the money to wire transfer funds to a third party, who is supposedly another secret shopper. Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks contains the letterhead of “PineCone Research, 250 East 5th Street, 9th Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45202.” Once their assignments are completed, the potential victims are to send text messages with 10-digit money-transfer control numbers to (202) 688-8936.
For additional information and to verify the authenticity of First National Bank’s cashier’s checks, please contact Vice President of Operations Connie Smith by mail at 200 East Broadway, Lenoir City, TN, 37771, by telephone at (865) 988-2114, by fax at (865) 988-2118, or by 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:
- 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.
Ellen M. Warwick
Director for Enforcement and Compliance