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Alert 2011-5 | May 17, 2011

Fraudulent Regulatory Agency Issuance: Fraudulent Correspondence Regarding an Outstanding Payment Transaction Supposedly Reviewed by the Comptroller of the Currency


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; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel; and All Examining Personnel

A fictitious letter, allegedly issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regarding a payment transaction purportedly reviewed and discussed by employees of the OCC and by other employees within the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is in circulation. The fictitious letter and related correspondence could potentially be distributed via email, fax, or postal mail.

Any document claiming that the OCC is involved in directing the release of outstanding contractual payments is fraudulent. The OCC does not direct, via letter, the transfer of funds to individuals, business enterprises, or governmental entities.

The letter indicates that a payment transaction was reviewed by the Acting Comptroller of the Currency, as well as a number of employees and divisions purportedly within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The letter directs the recipient to contact the Director of the Wire Transfer Department at Halifax Bank in London, England, regarding the receipt of an overdue payment.

Attached is a copy of this fraudulent letter, which is being circulated in an attempt to elicit funds and gather personal information for use in possible future identification theft.

The correspondence in question references the actual Acting Comptroller, John Walsh, and it contains the forged signature of a former OCC employee. The correspondence also includes, next to the forged signature, the seal of the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Before responding in any manner to any proposal supposedly issued by the OCC that involves the release of personal information or that requires the payment of any fee in connection with the proposal, you should verify that the proposal is legitimate. 

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

For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC's anti-fraud resources page.


Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance

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