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Alert 2014-34
Description: Texas Gulf Bank, NA

Counterfeit Cashier's Checks of Texas Gulf Bank, NA, Houston, Texas

To: 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 113115484 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.

The counterfeit checks resemble the bank’s authentic checks, but the counterfeit items may be identified by the following traits:

  • The checks contain a blue and pink background with a darker blue banner.
  • The following security statement appears in the top border: “THIS CHECK IS VOID WITHOUT A BLUE & BROWN BACKGROUND AND AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK ON THE BACK—HOLD AT ANGLE TO VIEW.”
  • The bank’s telephone number, (979) 849-2372, does not appear on the check.

Counterfeit checks presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $2,860 and contain a remitter name of David Keenom.

Potential victims are contacted by e-mail regarding a secret shopper job opportunity with a fictitious company using the name “Sights On Service Inc.” The e-mail is written by an individual using the name Anthony Townsend and the e-mail addresses [Townsendrumblerrules454@aol.com] and [Townsenda1221@gmail.com]. Once the potential victim completes the survey that is attached to the job offer e-mail and returns it to Mr. Townsend, a counterfeit check and additional correspondence are mailed to the potential victim’s residence.

The correspondence accompanying the counterfeit check instructs the recipient to deposit the check into his or her bank account and then within 24 hours, but no longer than 48 hours, use the funds as follows:

  • Purchase a $10 cashier’s check and scan a copy to the e-mail addresses listed above.
  • Purchase $10 in merchandise from a specified nationally known department store chain.
  • Retain $350 for commission.
  • Transfer the remaining balance using a specified wire transfer service provider to a third-party individual in Guangzhou, China. The victim is then to immediately e-mail the Money Transfer Control Number and other pertinent information to the e-mail addresses listed for Mr. Townsend.

For additional information and to verify the authenticity of cashier’s checks drawn on Texas Gulf Bank, NA, please contact Vice President of Operations Jo McWhorter by mail at 1717 N. Velasco, Angleton, TX 77515; by telephone at (979) 888-7853; by fax at (979) 848-1087; or by e-mail at jmcwhorter@texasgulfbank.com.

Consumers who receive counterfeit or fictitious items and associated material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): by telephone at (877) FTC-HELP or, for filing a complaint electronically, via the FTC’s Web site.
  • National Consumers League (NCL): by telephone at (202) 835-3323 or by e-mail. To file a fraud complaint, visit the NCL fraud Web site.
  • 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 Web site 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.

Ellen M. Warwick
Director for Enforcement and Compliance