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Special Alerts

March 11, 2008

TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (also of interest to Security Officer)
SUBJECT: Counterfeit Checks
Summary: Counterfeit checks bearing the name Willamette Valley Bank, Salem, Oregon, are reportedly in circulation.

Willamette Valley Bank, Salem, Oregon, has contacted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to report that counterfeit checks bearing the institution's name are in circulation. The counterfeit items are reportedly associated with a mystery shopper scam.

The counterfeit items display the routing number 123206859, which is assigned to Willamette Valley Bank, but are markedly dissimilar to authentic official checks. The counterfeit items display the security feature statement "SECURITY WARNING: THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT FEATURES A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINT BORDERS – THE REVERSE SIDE FEATURES ARTIFICIAL WATERMARKS" embedded within a darkened top border. The bank's logo, name (repeated twice), P.O. Box 2747, and street address are in the top-left corner. The counterfeit items have rounded corners and are blue with a pink and white patterned background. They also display a three-columned "VOID" background when copied.

Authentic official checks display the routing number 122042205, which is assigned to Preferred Bank, Los Angeles, California. Willamette Valley Bank issues official checks through Moneygram Payment Systems, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, using a payable-through account at Preferred Bank. The following security feature statement is shown below the top border: "THIS DOCUMENT HAS AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK PRINTED ON THE BACK. THE FRONT OF THE DOCUMENT HAS A MICRO-PRINT SIGNATURE LINE. ABSENCE OF THESE FEATURES WILL INDICATE A COPY." A "NOTICE TO CUSTOMER" regarding an indemnity bond and the word "Remitter" appear in the top-left corner. The bank's logo, name, address and telephone number are in the top-center area. The words "OFFICIAL CHECK" are shown in the lower-left corner. A security padlock and statement appear to the right of "DOLLARS." The bank's name is repeated as "DRAWER:" above the signature line. Authentic official checks have an ornate border, squared corners and a green and white background.

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:

Shelley Van Antwerp
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Willamette Valley Bank
P.O. Box 2747
101 High Street, North East
Salem, Oregon 97301
Telephone: (503) 763-6346
Fax: (503) 485-2218
E-mail: Shelley@wvbk.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/2008/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
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 3/11/2008 communications@fdic.gov