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Alert 2018-10 | August 8, 2018

Counterfeit Official Bank Checks: Counterfeit Official Bank Checks of Gate City Bank, Fargo, N.D.


Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks and Federal Savings Associations; All State Banking Authorities; Chair, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chair, 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 official bank checks using the bank’s routing number of 092005411 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a variety of up-front fee scams involving fictitious employment opportunities and online auction purchases.

The counterfeit checks may be identified by the following traits:

  • The check has a variant coloration of blue to green with a marbled background.
  • The following security statement appears in the top border: “TO VERIFY AUTHENTICATION, SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR DESCRIPTION OF THE 13 SECURITY FEATURES.”
  • The Remitter line appears directly beneath the Pay to the Order of information.
  • The Memo line appears directly beneath the Remitter line.
  • Both the Remitter and Memo lines are in bold font.
  • A security heat sensitive shield appears in the bottom center portion of the check.
  • The authorized signature appears as “Al Erickson.”

Checks presented to date have been made payable in amounts between $1,910 and $26,500 and include a remitter name of “Austin Benito.”

Potential victims of the employment opportunity scam may receive email messages from an individual using the name “BreAnne Feador,” an email address of [], and a phone number of (614) 333-1993. Potential victims of this scam are sought out on resume builder websites. The victim is contacted for a fictitious work-at-home position matching his or her qualifications. If the position is accepted, the potential victim is mailed a counterfeit check in excess of the amount agreed upon. The check is to be immediately deposited into his or her bank account with the excess funds wired to a third party.

Potential victims of the auction scam may receive text messages from (315) 353-4960 or other untraceable numbers requesting to purchase an item he or she has posted for sale. The scammer obtains the potential victim’s mailing address and sends a counterfeit check well in excess of the agreed upon sales amount. The potential victim is instructed to immediately deposit the check, preferably via a mobile app, to ensure immediate funds availability. He or she is then to wire the excess funds to a third party.

For additional information and to verify the authenticity of official bank checks drawn on Gate City Bank, please contact Senior Vice President of BSA/Fraud Patty Blozinski by mail at 500 2nd Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58102, by telephone at (701) 551-5674, or by email at

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.

Monica A. Freas
Director for Enforcement and Compliance