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Alert 2010-3
Description: Valley National Bank

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Valley National Bank, Wayne, NJ

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 021201383 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with two separate scams, which are both believed to be originated over the Internet.

The first scam involves a fictitious bingo winning alert e-mail in which the consumer is informed of their winning status and requested to provide his or her mailing address.  The recipient is informed that he or she will receive a check, which is to be used to pay for taxes and fees via a wire service.  The counterfeit check is then mailed to the consumer.  Items received to date have been in the amount of $2,400 and contain a memo line name of “Alfred Baker.”

The second scam involves the consumer completing a fictitious loan application with “Aix Financial Group.”  The consumer is then mailed a check for $100,000 or more with a request to wire a portion of the funds to a third party.  These checks may contain a memo line name of either “Alfred Baker” or Aix Financial.”

The counterfeit checks may be identified by the following traits:  the instruments are unknown in color and include the following security statement in the top border: “THIS CHECK IS VOID WITHOUT A COLORED BORDER AND BACKGROUND PLUS A KNIGHT & FINGERPRINT WATERMARK ON THE BACK – HOLD AT ANGLE TO VIEW.”  The following text is printed under the Authorized Signature line:  “Signature area contains a Knight & fingerprint check wording US Patents 5538290 5575508 5641183 5985353 6030000.”  The security message which appears on the back of the items is as follows:  “This check also contains the following security features which are covered under US Patents.”  The back of the item contains a designated space for a “Knight Fingerprint” and a “Fingerprint” with a message that reads:  “To view watermarks hold at angle or under black light.” 

Because of possible variations between the appearance of the bank’s authentic items and the counterfeit items associated with the scam, officials of Valley National Bank suggest they be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank’s cashier’s checks if received from an unknown entity.

For additional information and guidance, and to verify the authenticity of Valley National Bank’s cashier’s checks, please contact Peter Pellegrino, Corporate Security Department, 1460 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ  07470, by telephone at (973) 305-8800, by fax at (973) 686-1631, or via e-mail at [ppellegrino@valleynationalbank.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 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