At least three varieties of counterfeit checks falsely representing a Wisconsin bank, presented for payment nationwide as part of secret shopper employment scams, are being circulated nationwide, the regulator of national banks said Tuesday.
In a release, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said the bogus checks, using the routing number for Stephenson National Bank & Trust of Marinette, Wis., are being presented for payment. The routing number on the checks is 075901011, the OCC said.
The regulator said the three variations of the check are:
- Pale blue in color and contain the following security statement in blue ink within the top border: “WARNING: THIS DOCUMENT HAS SECURITY FEATURES IN THE PAPER;” the bank’s website of snbt.com is missing from the bank’s logo in the top-left portion of the check; a security feature is printed in blue ink within the right border; the remitter name may appear as “Daniel E Williams.”
- Blue in color with a marbled background and contain a dark-blue top border; the following security statement may be found within the top border: “THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK; the bank’s website of www.snbt.com is missing from the bank’s logo in the top-left portion of the check; the remitter name may appear as “Sandra M Ford.”
- Green in color with a woven background and contain dark-green top and bottom borders; the bank’s website of snbt.com is missing from the bank’s logo in the top-left portion of the check; the following security statement may be found within the top border: “THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND ON WHITE PAPER.” An additional security statement is printed within the bottom border: “THE BACK OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CHECK SECURITY WATERMARK COIN REACTIVE INK;” a heat-sensitive security feature is located in the center-bottom portion of the check; the remitter name may appear as either “Shannon Leon” or “Dottie Dean.”
The OCC warned that all of the counterfeit items presented include a fictitious account number ending in “0610,” have been made payable in varying denominations, and contain the authorized signatures of “Kris B. Bolssen” and “CSR.” Other remitter names may include Anthony Duke, Christina Friesen, Luis Garcia, Teshela McCall, or Marshall Trammell.
The “secret shopper” money transfer scam, the regulator said, is characterized by potential victims receiving correspondence accompanying the check, which contains the name of a nationally known retail store within the letterhead. The OCC said the correspondence instructs the potential victim to confirm receipt of the packet by sending an email to Caroline White at [firstname.lastname@example.org] or a text message to (937) 770-4292. “The recipient is further instructed to deposit the funds at his or her financial institution and to text the perpetrator at the above number to confirm the deposit,” according to the OCC. “The letter informs the recipient to retain a small portion for commission. The majority of the funds are to be used to conduct three wire transfers to the perpetrators at a well-known retail store for the purported purpose of the victim surveying the services of the money transfer center located within the retail store.
A “secret shopper gift card” scam is also associated with the phony checks, the OCC said. In that con, potential victims of the gift card receive correspondence accompanying the counterfeit check. The letter contains the name of a nationally known mobile device management and entertainment retailer, the OCC said. The correspondence instructs the potential victims to confirm receipt of the packet and the deposit of funds by sending a text message to (929) 485-8052.
The note then instructs the recipient to retain $200 ($300 if the assignment is completed within 48 hours) of the deposited funds for commission. “The majority of the funds are to be used to purchase two gift cards at this well-known retail store for the purported purpose of the victim surveying the conduct of the sales representatives,” the OCC said. “Following the purchase of the cards, the potential victim is told to scratch the cards to reveal the card numbers and to send photos of each card to the perpetrator.” The regulator said the correspondence contains a contact name of “George Seneca, MBA, Survey Co-ordinator” and an email address of [email@example.com].