Date: March 29, 2016
Fictitious Correspondence Regarding the Release of Funds Supposedly Under the Control of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks and Federal Savings Associations; All State Banking Authorities; Chair, 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
Fictitious correspondence, allegedly issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) or other government entities regarding funds purportedly under the control of the OCC, is in circulation. Correspondence may be distributed via e-mail, fax, or postal mail.
Any document claiming that the OCC is involved in holding any funds for the benefit of any individual or entity is fraudulent. The OCC does not participate in the transfer of funds for, or on behalf of, individuals, business enterprises, or governmental entities.
There are several variations of fictitious documents in circulation, three of which are attached to this Alert. While the appearance of documentation may differ, the material is being sent to consumers in an attempt to elicit funds from them and to gather personal information to be used in possible future identification theft.
Variation No. 1
These documents may contain the letterhead of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with the page footer containing the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal and wording. The letter claims that the OCC is holding funds until a Clearance Certificate fee has been verified as paid. Both the letter and “Official Receipt” appear to be signed by an official of Homeland Security. This material may be sent via e-mail from [email@example.com].
Variation No. 2
This document references “ “CEASE AND DESIST” ORDER OF FUNDS” and instructs the recipient to complete a FUNDS IMPORT CERTIFICATION & INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER PERMIT ORDER to ensure that the OCC releases funds to the beneficiary. This letter appears to be signed by an official of the OCC. This material may be sent via e-mail from [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Please note that this e-mail address is not affiliated with the OCC and has been shut down. The OCC’s Web site is www.occ.gov, and all e‑mail addresses associated with the OCC would end in [@occ.treas.gov].
Variation No. 3
The document contains both the Treasury Department and OCC seals and references “NOTIFICATION OF FULL CLEARANCE FOR CREDITTING”. This document was issued to the recipient following his payment of an $8,900 “MT 103” fee. E-mail addresses used to perpetrate this fraud include: [email@example.com] and [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Before responding in any manner to any proposal supposedly issued by the OCC that requests personal information or personal account information, or that requires the payment of any fee in connection with the proposal, recipients should take steps to verify that the proposal is legitimate. At a minimum, the OCC recommends that consumers
- contact the OCC directly to verify the legitimacy of the proposal (1) via e-mail at email@example.com; (2) by mail to the OCC’s Special Supervision Division, 400 7th St. SW, Suite 3E-218, MS 8E-12, Washington, DC 20219; (3) via fax to (571) 293-4925; or (4) by calling the Special Supervision Division at (202) 649-6450.
- contact state or local law enforcement.
- file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov if the proposal appears to be fraudulent and was received via e-mail or the Internet.
- file a complaint with 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 at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx, if the proposal appears to be fraudulent and was delivered through the U.S. Postal Service.
Information regarding the subject of this or any other alert that you wish to bring to the attention of the OCC may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ellen M. Warwick
Director for Enforcement and Compliance