Alert 2014-9| February 5, 2014

Counterfeit Cashier's Checks: Counterfeit Official Checks of LifeStore Bank, West Jefferson, N.C.

To

Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks and Federal Savings Associations; 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 Counsels; and All Examining Personnel

The above-named bank has reported that counterfeit official checks using a correct routing number of 253171676 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with an international lottery scam.

While the counterfeit checks resemble the bank’s authentic checks, counterfeit items may be identified by several traits:

  • The check is blue with a basket-weave-patterned background.
  • The following security statement is located in the top border: “FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING IN THE BORDER.”
  • The bottom-center portion of the check contains an oval security feature with a padlock icon and the following statement: “HEAT SENSITIVE LOCK, FADES WITH HEAT ON TOUCH.”
  • The bank’s logo in the upper-right corner is presented in red with white lettering.
  • The bank’s telephone number of (800) 723-4718 is not included.
  • The authorized signature appears as Kristen Johnson and is computer-generated.

Counterfeit checks presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $4,440 and contain a remitter name of Lauren Colby.

Potential victims are contacted by mail in a letter signed by Lauren Colby. The correspondence accompanying the counterfeit check includes the following letterhead: Warwick Foundation, LTD, 20 Britton St., London, England EC1M.UK. The letter states that the recipient has won a large sum of money and that the enclosed check is to be used to pay the applicable government taxes and clearance. Recipients are instructed to keep their winnings confidential and to contact Ralph Bridges at 011-44-7457-106-506 before depositing the checks into their bank accounts.

For additional information and to verify the authenticity of LifeStore Bank’s official checks, please contact Retail Banking Officer Pam DeVall by mail at 21 East Ashe Street, West Jefferson, NC 28694, by telephone at (336) 219-1035, by fax at (336) 219-1135 or by email at pdevall@golifestore.com.

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
www.occ.gov
occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov

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

Ellen M. Warwick
Director for Enforcement and Compliance