Alert 2015-5| April 8, 2015
Counterfeit Cashier's Checks: Counterfeit Cashier's Checks of Bridgehampton National Bank, Bridgehampton, N.Y.
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 021406667 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a digital shopper scam.
Two variations of counterfeit checks currently in circulation resemble the bank’s authentic checks. The counterfeit checks may be identified, however, by the following traits:
- The checks contain a darkened top border, which includes the following security statement: “WARNING: THIS DOCUMENT HAS SECURITY FEATURES IN THE PAPER.”
- The bank’s Website address is missing from the check.
- The checks contain a lace-style border.
- The top of the check contains a thicker border, which includes the following security statement: “THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND HIGH PERFORMANCE BORDER. THE REVERSE SIDE OF THIS DOCUMENT HAS AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK.”
- The bank’s Website address appears in all capital letters.
- The checks are missing a padlock security feature.
Counterfeit checks presented to date have been made payable in the amounts of $2,360 and $2,780.
Potential victims of the digital shopper scam are initially contacted via email after responding to an employment opportunity online. These emails have been generated using various names; the names used most frequently, however, are
- “Michael Huggin,” with an email address of [Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org] or [email@example.com]. The email encourages potential victims to communicate with this person by text message to (315) 677-1143.
- “Alexa Johnson,” with email addresses of [Johnson.firstname.lastname@example.org] or [Alexa.Johnson@groupmail.com].
Potential victims receive the counterfeit check, along with instructional material regarding the digital shopper assignment guidelines, via Priority Mail. This instructional material contains a return address and telephone number of “230 E 26th St, New York, NY 10001; Tel: (586) 221-6272” and is signed by Michael Huggin.
For additional information and to verify the authenticity of cashier’s checks drawn on Bridgehampton National Bank, please contact Vice President of Security Deborah Cosgrove by mail at 2200 Montauk Highway, P.O. Box 3005, Bridgehampton, NY 11932; by telephone at (631) 537-1000, ext. 7237; by fax at (631) 237-4305; or by email at email@example.com.
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