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August 30, 2010
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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 counterfeit official checks issued in the bank's name and using a correct routing number of 102301050 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a mystery shopping scam.
The counterfeit checks resemble the bank's authentic items but may be identified by the following traits: the instruments are blue in color and include the following security statement in the top border: "PRINTED WATERMARK PAPER COLORED BACKGROUND." Another security statement appears beneath the dollar amount line, which reads: "This document has a multi-color background, a micro-print signature line, and a holographic foil title; 'absent' of these features will indicate a copy."
Items presented to date have been made payable in varying amounts, with the majority presenting for $3,250, contain a remitter name of Bart P Burrows, and include check numbers in the numbering range of 329629 and higher. The counterfeit items do not contain the hologram.
Due to possible variations between the appearance of the bank's authentic items and the counterfeit items associated with the scam, officials of First National Bank of Gillette suggest they be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank's official checks if received by an unknown entity.
Potential victims are solicited via email from an individual using the name of Neshan Balian. The solicitation purports to originate from Secret Shopper, alleges to be a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), and outlines the duties of a secret shopper. The assignment centers on investigating local wire services. The letter states that the check the victim receives is to be taken to the bank "for instant cashing" and then he or she is to proceed directly to the wire center to immediately wire money to the location that will be emailed to them. There is a short application form that is to be completed and emailed back. The letter may be signed by Trevor Williams, Recruiting Department.
For additional information and guidance, and to verify the authenticity of First National Bank of Gillette's official checks, please contact the bank's Bookkeeping Department at 319 South Gillette Avenue, Gillette, WY 82716, by telephone at (307) 686-3340, or by fax at (307) 686-3390.
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.
Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance