OCC Counterfeit Check Alert: Bremer Bank, NA, St. Paul, MN

Subject: Counterfeit Official Bank Checks
Date: March 4, 2019
Description: Bremer Bank, NA
 

Counterfeit Official Bank Checks of Bremer Bank, NA, Saint Paul, Minn.

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 092005411 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a variety of online auction and job opportunity scams.

There are at least four 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 blue with white marbling and contain a darker blue top border with the following security statement: “TO VERIFY AUTHENTICITY, SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR DESCRIPTION OF THE 11 SECURITY FEATURES.”
  • The bank’s address appears as “109 S Mantoville Ave, Kasson, MN 55944.”
  • The entire left side of the check is missing information, as the first letter of each word on each line has been cut off.
  • A heat shield security feature may appear in the bottom center portion of the check.

Variation #2

  • The checks are tan with white marbling and contain a darker brown top border with the following security statement: “THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK.”
  • The bank’s address appears as “109 S Mantoville Ave, Kasson, MN 55944.”

Variation #3

  • The checks are of unknown color and contain a dark outlined border with a crown style icon in each corner. The top border includes a blurred security statement.
  • The bank’s address appears as “109 S Mantoville Ave, Kasson, MN 55944.”
  • A heat shield security feature is located in the bottom center portion of the check.
  • A padlock icon and security statement appear along the right border and on the reverse side of the check.

Variation #4

  • The checks are white and contain a green top border with the following security statement: “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS INVISIBLE UV SECURITY AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK.”
  • The bank’s address appears as “109 S Mantoville Ave, Kasson, MN 55944.”
  • Green round icons appear inside both the right and left borders in the lower portion of the check and contain the following security statement: “ICON APPEARS WITH UV LIGHT.”

Checks presented to date have been made payable in amounts between $1,880 and $7,250 and contain check serial numbers beginning in the 241100 series.

Victims receiving checks in regard to the job opportunity scam have received one of the following letters:

Fictitious Correspondence Variation #1

Correspondence is in regard to a purported shopper assessment job opportunity. Recipients are instructed to either cash or deposit the check, retain $300 as compensation, and use the remaining balance to purchase specified gift cards under the guise of secretly surveying the stores where the gift card purchases are transacted. Upon completion of the purchases, recipients are instructed to send pictures of the gift card serial numbers to the perpetrator of this scam. The letter is signed by Greg Sturge, Survey/Evaluator Consultant, with an email address of [sturgeg@basicshop.net]. A telephone number of (608) 535-4020 is provided for recipients to submit text messages.

Fictitious Correspondence Variation #2

Correspondence mirrors the first example, but the contact information differs. This letter is signed by Gary Cooper, Survey/Evaluator Consultant, with an email address of [garycooper@valuationroute.com]. A telephone number of (213) 443-8126 is provided for recipients to submit text messages.

For additional information and to verify the authenticity of official bank checks drawn on Bremer Bank, NA, please contact Loss Prevention Services Manager Kristin Hines by mail at 8555 Eagle Point Blvd., PO Box 1000, Lake Elmo, MN 55042, by telephone at (800) 299-9990, Option 2, or by email at kjhines@bremer.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 Correspondence

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