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Special Alerts

SA-295-2007
December 19, 2007


TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (also of interest to Security Officer)
SUBJECT: Counterfeit Official Checks
Summary: Counterfeit official checks bearing the name Merchants Commercial Bank, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, are reportedly in circulation.

Merchants Commercial Bank, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, has contacted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to report that counterfeit official checks bearing the institution's name are in circulation. Merchants Commercial Bank issues cashier's checks rather than official checks. The counterfeit item is reportedly associated with a "mystery shopper" scam.

The counterfeit items display the routing number 021606742, which is assigned to Merchants Commercial Bank. The items are markedly dissimilar to authentic cashier's checks. The counterfeit items display the security feature statement "FOR SECURITY PURPOSES THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING IN THE BORDER" embedded in a darkened top border. Centered along the bottom border is a security feature statement with a padlock symbol on each side. The words "OFFICIAL CHECK" are printed inside of a rectangle above a "Notice to Purchaser" in the top-center area. "ST THOMAS, VI 00526" is printed below the bank's logo and name in the top-left corner.

Authentic cashier's checks display the routing number 011007092, which is assigned to Boston Safe Deposit & Trust Company. Merchants Commercial Bank issues cashier's checks through Moneygram Payment Systems, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, payable through Boston Safe Deposit & Trust Company, Boston, Massachusetts. The following security feature statements are below the top border: "THIS DOCUMENT HAS AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK PRINTED ON THE BACK. THE FRONT OF THE DOCUMENT HAS A HOLOGRAM AND HEAT REACTIVE THERMOCHROMIC ICON. ABSENCE OF THESE FEATURES WILL INDICATE A COPY." The words "CASHIER'S CHECK" are in the top-right corner. A foil hologram is in the top center. A heat sensitive octagon appears at the end of the signature line. The checks are white and blue and have a "VOID" background when copied.

Copies of a counterfeit item and an authentic check (VOID) are attached for your review. Be aware that the appearance of counterfeit items can be modified and that additional variations may be presented.

Any information you have concerning this matter should be brought to the attention of:

Kathleen St Luce
Controller
Merchants Commercial Bank
Port of Sale Mall #15
St Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802
Telephone: (340) 779-2265, extension 33
Fax: (340) 779-2266
E-mail: kathleenstluce@mcbvi.com

Information about counterfeit items, cyber-fraud incidents and other fraudulent activity may be forwarded to the FDIC's Cyber-Fraud and Financial Crimes Section, 550 17th Street, N.W., Room F-4004, Washington, D.C. 20429, or transmitted electronically to alert@fdic.gov. Questions related to federal deposit insurance or consumer issues should be submitted to the FDIC using an online form that can be accessed at http://www2.fdic.gov/starsmail/index.asp.

For your reference, FDIC Special Alerts may be accessed from the FDIC's website at www.fdic.gov/news/news/SpecialAlert/2007/index.html. To learn how to automatically receive FDIC Special Alerts through e-mail, please visit www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html.

Sandra L. Thompson
Director
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection

Attachment (not available electronically)

NOTE: As a security precaution, the FDIC does not post to its Web site electronic images of fraudulent items or authentic checks that have been counterfeited. This is to avoid attempts by others to use these instruments to facilitate additional fraud. Financial institutions can view images of the fraudulent items and authentic checks (marked as VOID) using the FDIC's free, secure Web site, FDICconnect. (See more information about FDICconnect at http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2006/fil06032.html.) Printed copies of each Special Alert and its attachment(s) may also be obtained from the FDIC's Public Information Center (telephone: 1-877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200; fax: 703-562-2296; or e-mail: publicinfo@fdic.gov).

Distribution: FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)




Last Updated 12/19/2007 communications@fdic.gov