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Alert 2015-10
Description: First National Bank of Bastrop

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of First National Bank of Bastrop, Bastrop, 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 114904953 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with mystery shopping scams.

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

  • The background of the checks contains, from left to right, a fading coloration of blue, brown, blue.
  • The checks contain a dark blue border, which includes the following security statement: “THIS CHECK IS VOID WITHOUT A BLUE & BROWN BACKGROUND AND AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK ON THE BACK – HOLD AT ANGLE TO VIEW.”
  • The word “AAVILA” is printed to the left of the date.
  • The following statement appears beneath the signature line: “Signature Area Contains SGP Security Icon.”

Counterfeit checks presented to date have been made payable in the amounts of $1,545 and $2,865 and contain purchaser names of either Christopher Drake or Veronica Branton.

Potential victims of this scam are initially contacted via e-mail by John Maxwell regarding a job offer as a mystery shopper. E-mail addresses associated with the scammer include [chowderheadsmith@aol.com] and [johnmaxwell2133@gmail.com].

Once the offer is accepted, potential victims receive a correspondence package in the mail. Letters accompanying the checks instruct the potential victim to immediately deposit the check into his or her bank account. The potential victim is further instructed to retain $200 as a commission payment, use $10 to purchase a cashier’s check to be scanned to the scammer, use $10 to purchase items from a well-known chain store, and wire transfer the balance of the funds to a third party. The letters ask for transfer details and evaluation forms to be e-mailed to [christdrake01@gmail.com] or [johnmaxwell2133@gmail.com].

For additional information and to verify the authenticity of cashier’s checks drawn on First National Bank of Bastrop, please contact Security Manager Nicole Herring by mail at P.O. Drawer F, Bastrop, TX 78602; by telephone at (512) 321-6177; or by e-mail at nherring@fnbbastrop.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.
 

Daniel P. Stipano
Deputy Chief Counsel

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