Alert 2008-10| February 19, 2008

Fictitious Official Checks: Fictitious Official Checks of The First National Bank of Hughes Springs, Hughes Springs, TX


Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Director, Office of Thrift Supervision; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel; and All Examining Personnel

The above-named bank has reported that fictitious official checks issued in the bank's name and using the bank's correct routing number of 111911033 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with various up-front fee schemes, including lottery and mystery shopping scams.

These items are fictitious, as The First National Bank of Hughes Springs does not issue official checks. Checks presented to date have been made payable in varying amounts from $3,875 to $44,830 and may include remitter names of "CSS," "Comparison Shoppers Solution," or "Aspen Financial." Due to possible variations in appearance of the bank's official items and scams, it is suggested that officials of The First National Bank of Hughes Springs be contacted to verify authenticity of any of the bank's official items, if received from an unknown or questionable source.

The prize award winning notification correspondence accompanying some of the checks may contain the letterhead of "Winners Capital Trust Financial To Improve The Way People Live, P.O Box 9088, Wildword, NJ 08260-9088, Telephone 1-905-462-1328" and contain the typos as underlined above. Note that the telephone number provided originates out of Milton, Ontario. The recipient is informed of his or her winning status of a large dollar amount and is instructed to deposit the enclosed check into his or her bank account immediately to assist with the local taxes and administrative fees. Once the fees are paid, the full winning amount will be released. The recipient is further instructed to contact claim agent Robert Elliot by a specific date, or the prize will be forfeited. This letter may be signed by Edwin Brown.

The mystery shopper correspondence may contain the letterhead of "Comparison Shopping Solutions, P O Box 4800, Wildwood, NJ 08280; Tel: 1 (905) 462-1329; Fax: (888) 280-8459." The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been selected to be a secret shopper for the company. It explains that the enclosed check is to be used to purchase merchandise at various nationally known merchants as well as to transfer money using a nationally known wire service. The funds to be spent at each location are broken down by a specific dollar amount, with the shopper being allotted the remaining funds as payment for their mystery shopper service. The letter may be signed by Cathy Bradley.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of The First National Bank of Hughes Springs' official items, please contact Lynda Shaddix, AVP/Bookkeeping, 505 East First Street, Hughes Springs, TX 75656, by telephone at (903) 639-2521, or by fax at (903) 639-2836.

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.

Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance