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Alert 2015-1
Description: Simplicity Bank

Counterfeit Cashier's Checks of Simplicity Bank, Covina, Calif.

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 322278183 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with an online auction scam.

The counterfeit checks do not resemble the bank’s authentic checks and may be identified by the following traits:

  • The checks contain a light-blue background with white streaks and a dark border along the top.
  • The following security statement appears in the top border: “THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK.”
  • A five-digit serial number appears in the upper-right corner of the check.
  • The bank’s telephone number of “800-524-2274” does not appear on the check.
  • The words “Authorized Signature” appear beneath the second signature line at the bottom of the check.
  • The following statement appears beneath the signature lines in the bottom-right corner: “TWO SIGNATURES REQUIRED FOR CHECKS EXCEEDING $100,000.00.”

Counterfeit checks presented to date have been made payable in varying amounts. In this particular scam, a potential purchaser contacts sellers of auction items through text messages. The purchaser informs the seller that hired movers will be scheduled to pick up the sales item and that the cashier’s check will be sent ahead of time in an amount exceeding the purchase price. The seller is instructed to cash the check and provide the movers with the excess amount upon picking up the sales item.

For additional information and to verify the authenticity of cashier’s checks drawn on Simplicity Bank, please contact Bank Secrecy Act and Fraud Analyst Anna Castillo by mail at 1359 N. Grand Avenue, Covina, CA 91724-1016; by telephone at (800) 524-2274; by fax at (626) 858-8993; or by e-mail at CustomerCare@simplicitybank.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