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Special Alerts

August 14, 2007

TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (also of interest to Security Officer)
SUBJECT: Counterfeit Treasurer's Checks
Summary: Counterfeit treasurer's checks bearing the name Merchant's Bank, Vermont, are reportedly in circulation.

The Merchants Bank, Burlington, Vermont, has contacted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to report that counterfeit treasurer's checks bearing the institution's name are in circulation.

The counterfeit items display the routing number 011600020, which is assigned to The Merchants Bank, but are dissimilar to authentic treasurer's checks. The counterfeit items have ornate side borders and the following security feature statement is embedded within the top border: "THIS CHECK IS VOID WITHOUT A RED AND GRAY BORDER AND BACKGROUND PLUS A KNIGHT & FINGERPRINT WATERMARK ON THE BACK – HOLD AT AN ANGLE TO VIEW." Along the bottom border is the statement "ABSENCE OF PINK U.S. PATENT NUMBERS UNDER SIGNATURE INDICATES CHECK IS FRAUDULENT, PATENT NUMBERS ARE PRINTED WITH HEAT SENSITIVE INK & WILL DISAPPEAR WHEN BLOWING OR RUBBING." A logo of a running lynx appears in the center of the bank's name with an apostrophe ("merchant's BANK") in the top-left corner. The items are light red and gray, and the quality of the paper stock is poor.

Authentic treasurer's checks display the following security feature statement below the top border: "THIS MULTI-TONE AREA OF THE DOCUMENT CHANGES COLOR GRADUALLY AND EVENLY FROM DARK TO LIGHT." The statement "THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT HAS A REFLECTIVE WATERMARK ON THE BACK. HOLD AT AN ANGLE TO VIEW" is embedded within a darkened bottom border. The bank's logo of a lynx head and its name without an apostrophe ("merchants BANK") appear in the top-left corner. The word "OFFICE" is displayed below the location of issuance near the center. The checks are light blue.

Copies of a counterfeit item and an authentic treasurer's 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:

Gary W. Dean
Bank Security Act Officer
The Merchants Bank
P.O. Box 1009
Burlington, Vermont 05402
Telephone: (802) 865-1903
Fax: (802) 865-1912
E-mail: gdean@mbvt.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
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 8/14/2007 communications@fdic.gov