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Alert 2007-37
Description: Whitney National Bank

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Whitney National Bank, New Orleans, LA

To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Director, Office of Thrift Supervision; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel; and All Examining Personnel

The above-named bank has reported that counterfeit cashier's checks issued in the bank's name and using a correct routing number of 065000171 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with at least two lottery scams.

The counterfeit checks resemble the authentic items, but may be identified by the following: the instruments may be light blue or yellow in color with a basket weave pattern. A padlock icon and the following security statement may be present within the right border: "Security features included. Details on back." The checks do not contain a remitter line, a security padlock icon behind the word "DOLLARS," or a security statement below the written amount line.

Items presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $2,450.00 and have been dated 05/23/2007 to present. Due to possible variations of appearance, it is suggested that officials of Whitney National Bank be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank's cashier's checks if received from an unknown or questionable source.

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks may contain the letterhead of "Pacific Funds Management, Publishers Clearing House, Readers Digest Sweepstakes & Internet Casino, PO Box 34, Windsor, Ontario" or "County Shoppers Sweepstakes, Publishers Clearing House, Readers Digest Sweepstakes & Internet Casino, Post Office Box 2, Toronto, Ontario." Other than having a different letterhead and contact phone numbers, both letters read the same. The letters alert the recipient that he or she is a winner in the County Shoppers Sweepstakes held on May 10, 2007, that his or her name was attached to ticket # 801-410-277 and that he or she has won $68,000.00. The letter states the $2,450 (which has been deducted from their $68,000) is to pay accounting, tax processing, and clearance fees, which must be paid before the remainder of the money can be paid out. The letter instructs the recipient to contact the claims agent at 1 (601) 728-4312 or 1 (902) 412-0547 for the processing and remittance of their prize. It also states that all prize money must be claimed by June 22, 2007. The letter is signed by Donna Howard, Senior Vice President, Promotions.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Whitney National Bank's cashier's checks, please contact Beverly Beals, Security Investigator, Corporate Security Department, 1201 Dickory Avenue, Harahan, LA 70123, by telephone at (504) 729-1322, by fax at (504) 729-1324, or via e-mail at [bmoore@whitneybank.com].

Consumers who receive a counterfeit or fictitious item and associated material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP or, for filing a complaint electronically, via the FTC's Web site at www.ftc.gov.

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canadian scams): by telephone at 1-888-495-8501 or via e-mail at [info@phonebusters.com]. Their Web site, www.phonebusters.com, provides additional contact numbers.

  • 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 international Web site www.bbb.org offers contact information for local BBBs, objective reports on more than two 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 (FBI) Internet Fraud Complaint Center (scams that may have originated via the Internet) at www.ic3.gov.

  • If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspector Service by telephone at 1-888-877-7644, 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 e-mail at http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx.

Additional information concerning this matter that you believe should be brought to the attention of the OCC may be forwarded to:

E-mail: occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov
Mail: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Special Supervision Division, MS 6-4
250 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20219
Fax: (202) 874-5214
Internet: http://www.occ.gov

For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC's anti-fraud resource at: http://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/fraud-resources/index-fraud-resources.html.

/signed/

Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance

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