Alert 2014-33| November 13, 2014
Fictitious Regulatory Agency Issuance: Fictitious Correspondence Regarding the Release of Funds Supposedly Under the Control of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
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
Fictitious correspondence, allegedly issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regarding funds purportedly under the control of the OCC and possibly other government entities, is in circulation. Correspondence may be distributed via email, fax, or postal mail.
Any document claiming that the OCC is involved in holding any funds for the benefit of any individual or entity is fraudulent. The OCC does not participate in the transfer of funds for, or on behalf of, individuals, business enterprises, or governmental entities.
The correspondence may indicate that funds are being held by a specific financial institution and that the recipient will be required to pay an “approval fee” before the Federal Reserve Wire Network will release the funds to the beneficiary.
Attached is a copy of the “Interim Stop Order” document. Emails being sent in regard to this scam appear to be sent from officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the United States Department of Financial Institutions, but they are not. Email addresses utilized in the electronic correspondence may be from [firstname.lastname@example.org] or [email@example.com]. This material is being sent to consumers in an attempt to elicit funds from them and to gather personal information to be used in possible future identification theft.
Before responding in any manner to any proposal supposedly issued by the OCC that requests personal information or personal account information or that requires the payment of any fee in connection with the proposal, recipients should take steps to verify that the proposal is legitimate. At a minimum, the OCC recommends that consumers
- contact the OCC directly to verify the legitimacy of the proposal (1) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org; (2) by mail to the OCC’s Special Supervision Division, 400 7th St. SW, Suite 3E-218, MS 8E-12, Washington, DC 20219; (3) via fax to (571) 293-4925; or (4) by calling the Special Supervision Division at (202) 649-6450.
- contact state or local law enforcement.
- file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov if the proposal appears to be fraudulent and was received via email or the Internet.
- file a complaint with 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 at https://ehome.uspis.gov/fcsexternal/default.aspx, if the proposal appears to be fraudulent and was delivered through the U.S. Postal Service.
Any information regarding the subject of this or any other alert that you wish to bring to the attention of the OCC may be sent to email@example.com.
Ellen M. Warwick
Director for Enforcement and Compliance