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Special Alerts

June 21, 2007

TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (also of interest to Security Officer)
SUBJECT: Counterfeit Business Checks
Summary: Counterfeit business checks are reportedly in circulation.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has been receiving an increasing number of reports from financial institutions, businesses and consumers that counterfeit business checks are in circulation.

Like counterfeit official bank checks, cashier's checks and money orders, counterfeit business checks are being used in connection with various consumer scams. In many cases, counterfeit business checks are included with correspondence that describes an artificial purpose, and instructs the recipient to cash the check and send a portion of the funds via wire transfer to a third party. Scams that make use of counterfeit business checks typically involve bogus lotteries, sweepstakes or contests, and overpayment for merchandise purchased – often over the Internet.

In recent examples, counterfeit business checks have displayed the names of well-known and recognizable businesses. In other examples, they have displayed the names of what appear to be small or nondescript businesses; however, they have included the routing number and account number used for the issuance of official checks by a financial institution.

The FDIC urges financial institution management and employees to be aware of the pervasive nature of counterfeit checks and to recognize the warning signs of counterfeit checks associated with consumer scams.

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 http://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
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection

Distribution: FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)

Paper copies of FDIC Special Alerts may be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center, 1-877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200.

Last Updated 6/21/2007 communications@fdic.gov