Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Beware of This Banks Cashier Checks

American National Bank and Trust Company has reported that counterfeit cashier’s checks using the bank’s routing number of 051401027 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with various internet scams involving mystery shopping and job opportunities.

There are at least three known variations of counterfeit items in circulation; coloration is unknown.

Variation #1 – This check resembles the bank’s authentic item, but may be identified by the following trait:

The following security statement is within the top border: “TO VERIFY AUTHENTICITY, SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR DESCRIPTION OF THE 11 SECURITY FEATURES.”

Variation #2 – This check resembles the bank’s authentic item, but may be identified by the following traits:

  • The following security statements is within the top border: “TO VERIFY AUTHENTICITY, SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR DESCRIPTION OF THE 13 SECURITY FEATURES.”
  • An abbreviated routing number of “00-000 000” is under the check number in the top right-hand portion of the check.
  • A heat-sensitive security feature is in the lower-center portion of the check.
  • The check number will appear as a six-digit number with no proceeding zeros in the micro-printed line at the bottom of the check.

Variation #3 – This check does not resemble the bank’s authentic item and may be identified by the following traits:

  • The institution’s name of “AMERICAN NATIONAL BANK & TRUST CO” is in the upper-right portion of the check.
  • A remitter name and mailing address is in the top left portion of the check next to a company logo for Thompson Coburn LLP.
  • The check number will appear as a six-digit number with no proceeding zeros in the micro-printed line at the bottom of the check.

Checks presented to date have been made payable in amounts between $190 and $45,000; however, the majority have been made payable for amounts between $1,845 and $2,990. The most common remitter name appears as Rhonda C. Thomas, but others may be Chamika Ford, Linda King, Matthew Roberts, and Ralph Bochicco.

The checks have been used in three variations of mystery shopping scam letters now in circulation.

  • The first contains a header of “CUSTOMER SERVICE EVALUATION TOOL (CSLT).” This letter lists names of well-known retail companies and requests that the recipient buy specific gift cards at various locations for specific dollar amounts while retaining a portion of the counterfeit funds as payment for service. The victim is then instructed to send pictures of the cards along with a completed survey to [[email protected]] or [[email protected]]. The individual is further instructed to immediately text completion of assignment to 346-426-6337 to receive a bonus. This letter is signed by Brian Clooney.
  • The second letter asks the recipient to text or email the scammer upon receipt of the counterfeit item at (346) 202-5272 or [[email protected]]. The letter further encourages the potential victim to deposit the funds via online mobile banking or at an ATM to “reduce the stress of going to the bank.”
  • The letterhead of the third letter states: “Survey and Research Document Section 1 Batch C 2021,” and the recipient is instructed to TEXT ONLY or email confirmation of receipt to 669-222-4673 or [[email protected]]. The potential victim is further instructed to retain a certain dollar amount as payment, purchase a cashier’s check for $20 made out to a well-known charitable organization, and to use the remainder of funds to purchase specific gift cards at a specific retail store. Pictures of both the purchased check and gift cards are to be sent to either 669-222-4673 or 669-241-1940. The letter is signed by Samuel Hudson and contains a footer of “Postedjobs Inc Professional Survey and Research Group.”

In addition, the counterfeit checks are used in a scam targeting home improvement contractors who bid on jobs via online portals. A customer posing as James Howe hires the contractor and sends a check for more than the contractor requested. When the contractor reports the overpayment, Mr. Howe says he erroneously overpaid the contractor with funds meant for an additional contractor he’s hired. He then asks the contractor to deposit the check and send the extra funds to a third party (purportedly the additional contractor).

For additional information and to verify the authenticity of checks drawn on American National Bank and Trust Company, please contact the bank’s customer service center by telephone at (800) 240-8190 or by mail at 628 Main Street, Danville, VA 24541.

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

  • OCC: by email at [email protected]; or by fax to (571) 293-4925.
  • 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.

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