OCC Counterfeit Official Bank Check Alert: First Federal Bank of Ohio, Galion, OH

 
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Ensuring a safe and sound Federal Banking System for All Americans
 
Alert 2018-12

Subject: Counterfeit Official Bank ChecksDate: September 11, 2018

Description: First Federal Bank of Ohio

 

Counterfeit Official Bank Checks of First Federal Bank of Ohio, Galion, Ohio

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; 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 042000314 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a variety of online auction and job opportunity scams.

There are at least two variations of counterfeit checks in circulation. While the counterfeit checks resemble the bank’s authentic items, they may be identified by the following traits:

Variation #1

  • The checks are unknown in color and contain a darkened top border with the following security statement: “THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND ON WHITE PAPER”.
  • The bank’s logo letters of “FF” in the upper left corner appears either white or light in color.
  • The branch offices are not listed under the bank’s logo.
  • A heat shield security feature is located in the bottom center portion of the check.
  • A reference line contains the name of “Donald Sawyer”.
  • The following security statement appears in the bottom border between two padlock icons: “SECURITY FEATURES INCLUDED. DETAILS ON BACK.”
  • The checks are signed by “Leiann Waddell.”

Variation #2

  • The checks are unknown in color and contain a darkened top border with the following security statement: “THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND ON WHITE PAPER”.
  • The branch offices are not listed under the bank’s logo.
  • The following appears in the top center portion of the check: “DRAWEE  Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati)”. The statement lacks punctuation.
  • The following statement appears directly above the signature line: “TWO SIGNATURES REQUIRED OVER &5,000.00”. The statement includes a typographical error.
  • A heat shield security feature is located in the bottom center portion of the check.
  • A reference line contains the name of “Matthew Newsom”.
  • The following security statement appears in the bottom border between two padlock icons: “SECURITY FEATURES INCLUDED. DETAILS ON BACK.”
  • The checks are signed by “Leiann Waddell.”

Checks presented to date have been made payable in amounts between $2,455 and $10,000.

Victims receiving checks in regard to the job opportunity scam have received correspondence from “Rick Allen, Survey Evaluation Co-ordinator of Blink Research and Services.” Recipients are instructed to deposit the check, retain $308 as compensation, and use the remaining balance to purchase gift cards under the guise of secretly surveying the store where the purchase is transacted. A telephone number of (973) 531-7814 is provided for recipients to submit text messages in order to receive further guidance. The guidance provided includes instructions to send pictures of the gift card numbers to the perpetrator of this scam.

For additional information and to verify the authenticity of official bank checks drawn on First Federal Bank of Ohio, please contact Assistant Treasurer/Bookkeeping Sally Petrie by mail at 140 N. Columbus Street, Galion, OH 44833, by telephone at (419) 468-1518, by fax at (419) 468-2973, or by email at spetrie@firstfederalbankofohio.com.

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
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
Director for Enforcement and Compliance

Links:

OCC Notice

Sample Fictitious Letter and Survey Form