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Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of CommunityBank of Texas, National Association, Beaumont, Texas

March 06, 2017 / Source: OCC

Alert 2017-2
Subject: Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks
Date: March 6, 2017
Description: CommunityBank of Texas, National Association
Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of CommunityBank of Texas, National Association, Beaumont, Texas
To:
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 at least three variations of counterfeit cashier’s checks using a correct routing number of 113111983 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with online job opportunity and auction scams.
The counterfeit checks do not resemble the bank’s authentic checks. Counterfeit items may be identified by the following traits:
Variation No. 1

  • The checks presented are either light blue or light green in color with a marbled background.
  • The checks contain thin dark-blue or green vertical borders and thick dark-blue or green horizontal borders.
  • The following security statement appears in the top border: “THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK.”

Variation No. 2

  • The checks presented are either pale-blue or white in color and contain a thin blue border.
  • The checks do not contain any security features.

Variation No. 3

  • The checks are light blue in color and contain a darker-blue top border.
  • The following security statement appears in the top border: “WARNING: THIS DOCUMENT HAS SECURITY FEATURES IN THE PAPER.”
  • A padlock icon appears in the right border with the words “Security Features.”

Counterfeit checks presented to date have been made payable in varying amounts and display the bank’s name with a space between “Community” and “Bank.” All checks contain a remitter name of Kellie Ellie Fowler and an authorized signature of Tamara Norris.
Potential victims of the job opportunity scam may be initially contacted by e-mail by either Jennifer Kinley with an e-mail address of [tisainas@gmail.com] or Keith Farrell with an e-mail address of [imtinssurance@gmail.com]. Both individuals are using the same telephone number of (832) 413-1639 for text messaging purposes. Once the potential victim agrees to the job opportunity, he or she will receive a counterfeit check in the mail with instructions to deposit the check into his or her bank account, wait 24 hours, and then wire a significant portion of the funds to a third party.
Potential victims of the online auction scam may be contacted by an individual using the name of Barrack Smith and providing an on-line auction e-mail address of [019ced5fc82f3880b47ab6db08134b10@reply.craigslist.org]. Potential victims are contacted about items posted for sale. Once an agreed-upon price has been set, the potential victim will receive an overpayment amount in the form of a counterfeit check. He or she is then instructed to deposit the check into his or her bank account, wait 24 hours, and then wire the overpayment amount to a third party.
Checks may take up to ten days to go through the clearing process. In both of the above-described cases, by the time the check is deemed to be counterfeit, the victims have already wired the funds to an untraceable third party. The victims are then in a position of refunding their financial institutions for the incurred loss.
For additional information and to verify the authenticity of cashier’s checks drawn on CommunityBank of Texas, National Association, please contact Bryan Hollier, Assistant Vice President, Security, by mail at 5999 Delaware Street, Beaumont, TX 77706; by telephone at (409) 861-7413; by fax at (409) 861-7415; or by email at bhollier@cbotx.com.  
Consumers who receive counterfeit or fictitious items and associated material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:

  • 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
www.occ.gov
occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov
For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC’s anti-fraud resources page.
 
Monica A. Freas
Acting Director for Enforcement and Compliance