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March 29, 2016
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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) or other government entities regarding funds purportedly under the control of the OCC, 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.
There are several variations of fictitious documents in circulation, three of which are attached to this Alert. While the appearance of documentation may differ, the 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.
These documents may contain the letterhead of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with the page footer containing the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal and wording. The letter claims that the OCC is holding funds until a Clearance Certificate fee has been verified as paid. Both the letter and "Official Receipt" appear to be signed by an official of Homeland Security. This material may be sent via email from [email@example.com].
This document references "CEASE AND DESIS ORDER OF FUNDS" and instructs the recipient to complete a FUNDS IMPORT CERTIFICATION & INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER PERMIT ORDER to ensure that the OCC releases funds to the beneficiary. This letter appears to be signed by an official of the OCC. This material may be sent via email from [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Please note that this email address is not affiliated with the OCC and has been shut down. The OCC's website is www.occ.gov, and all e‑mail addresses associated with the OCC would end in [@occ.treas.gov].
The document contains both the Treasury Department and OCC seals and references "NOTIFICATION OF FULL CLEARANCE FOR CREDITTING". This document was issued to the recipient following his payment of an $8,900 "MT 103" fee. Email addresses used to perpetrate this fraud include: [email@example.com] and [firstname.lastname@example.org].
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.
Consumers who receive counterfeit or fictitious items and associated material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:
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