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Special Alerts

August 1, 2005

TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (also of interest to Security Officer)
SUBJECT: Fraudulent Regulatory Agency Issuances
Summary: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has issued an alert stating that emails claiming to be from the OCC regarding control over restricted funds are fraudulent.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has advised the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that emails allegedly issued by the OCC regarding restricted funds continue to circulate. Any emails or other documents claiming that the OCC is holding, or has placed a hold on, any funds for the benefit of any individual or entity are fraudulent. The OCC does not participate in the transfer of funds for, or on behalf of, individuals, businesses or governmental entities. Additionally, the OCC does not establish, maintain or control any deposit accounts for, or in the name of, any individuals, businesses or governments. Likewise, the FDIC does not participate in the transfer of funds or control deposit accounts for, or in the name of, any individuals, businesses or governments.

The emails in question, which contain forged signatures of actual OCC officials, falsely claim that the OCC or other federal bank regulatory agency is holding payments owed by foreign governments or foreign organizations. The emails encourage the recipient to reply to a hyperlink (email) address so that the funds can be released, warning that a delay in responding might cause the OCC to cancel the obligations due to the recipient. The hyperlink, as well as telephone and facsimile numbers contained in the email, are not those of any OCC office or official. These emails appear similar to documents referenced in previous OCC alerts. See OCC Alerts 2004-3, 2004-11, and 2001-5 and their attachments, which can be found at http://www.occ.gov under the subdirectory "Issuances."

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, you should take steps to verify that the proposal is legitimate.

At a minimum, the OCC recommends that you:

  • Contact the OCC directly to verify the legitimacy of the proposal by:
    1. Internet, using the OCC's Web address, http://www.occ.gov;
    2. Mail, addressed to:
      OCC's Enforcement & Compliance (E&C) Division
      250 E Street, SW
      Mail Stop 8-10
      Washington, DC 20219
      Attention: E&C Division Director
    3. Facsimile, using the E&C Division's facsimile number, (202) 874-5301; or
    4. Telephone, using the E&C Division phone number, (202) 874-4800;
  • Do not rely upon the contact information contained in the email in determining whether or not a proposal is legitimate;
  • Review the OCC alerts and related information, which can be accessed on the OCC's Web site at http://www.occ.gov under "Issuances"; and
  • If the proposal appears to be fraudulent, and the proposal was received by either email or the Internet, report the incident to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at http://www.ifccfbi.gov and follow the instructions for filing a complaint.

Any 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 occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov.

For your reference, FDIC Special Alerts may be accessed from the FDIC's Web site at www.fdic.gov/news/news/SpecialAlert/2005/index.html. To learn how to automatically receive FDIC Special Alerts through e-mail, please visit www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html.

Michael J. Zamorski
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection

Distribution: FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)

NOTE: Paper copies of FDIC Special Alerts may be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center, 801 17th Street, NW, Room 100, Washington, DC 20434 (1-877-275-3342 or (703) 562-2200).

Last Updated 8/1/2005 communications@fdic.gov