Counterfeit checks bear routing number of Fargo bank

Counterfeit official bank checks using the routing number of Gate City Bank of Fargo, N.D. – 092005411 – are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a variety of up-front fee scams involving fictitious employment opportunities and online auction purchases, a federal banking regulator said Wednesday.

In Alert 2018-10, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said the counterfeit checks may be identified by the following traits:

  • The check has a variant coloration of blue to green with a marbled background.
  • The following security statement appears in the top border: “TO VERIFY AUTHENTICATION, SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR DESCRIPTION OF THE 13 SECURITY FEATURES.”
  • The Remitter line appears directly beneath the Pay to the Order of information.
  • The Memo line appears directly beneath the Remitter line.
  • Both the Remitter and Memo lines are in bold font.
  • A security heat sensitive shield appears in the bottom center portion of the check.
  • The authorized signature appears as “Al Erickson.”

The OCC says checks presented to date have been made payable in amounts between $1,910 and $26,500 and include a remitter name of “Austin Benito.”

The OCC outlines two types of scams being seen. Potential victims of the employment opportunity scam may receive email messages from an individual using the name “BreAnne Feador,” an email address of [], and a phone number of (614) 333-1993. Potential victims of this scam are sought out on resume builder websites, and victims are contacted for fictitious work-at-home positions matching their qualifications. Those who accept are mailed counterfeit checks for more than the amount agreed upon, with instructions to wire excess funds to a third party.

Potential victims of the auction scam may receive text messages from (315) 353-4960 or other untraceable numbers requesting to purchase an item he or she has posted for sale. The scammer obtains the potential victim’s mailing address and sends a counterfeit check well in excess of the agreed upon sales amount. The potential victim is instructed to immediately deposit the check, preferably via a mobile app, to ensure immediate funds availability. He or she is then to wire the excess funds to a third party.

The OCC alert provides contact information for those who want to verify the authenticity of bank checks drawn on Gate City Bank as well as other groups and agencies (including FBI and the U.S. Postal Service) where complaints can be filed.

Counterfeit Official Bank Checks of Gate City Bank, Fargo, N.D. (OCC Alert 2018-10)