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Alert 2008-31
Description: Fraudulent Correspondence Attributed to Officials of the Department of Homeland Security

Fraudulent Correspondence Regarding the Release of Funds Supposedly under the Control of the United States Consular in the United Kingdom

To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel and All Examining Personnel

Correspondence, allegedly issued by William H. Webster of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding restricted funds purportedly under the control of the United States Consular in the United Kingdom, is in circulation. The item is a hoax.

This fraudulent correspondence, which is being sent as a letter to United States bank customers in an attempt to elicit funds from them, is attached. The letter indicates that the DHS has placed an immediate stop on a large sum of money to be transferred into the recipient’s bank account. The letter points out to the recipient the consequences related to receiving such large dollar amounts without adhering to the Homeland Security Laws of the United States/Canada, as written in the "Patriotic Act of 2001." The letter further states that the recipient must obtain an Anti-Terrorist Clearance Certificate prior to the transfer of funds. According to the European Commission’s recent warning (attached and viewable at, victims of this fraud are directed to pay approximately $25,000 USD to obtain these bogus documents.

Any documents claiming that the DHS is involved in holding any funds for the benefit of any individual or entity are fraudulent. The Department does not participate in the transfer of funds for, or on behalf of, individuals, business enterprises, or governmental entities.

The correspondence in question contains a forged signature of William H. Webster, listed as Director, Homeland Security Department, but who is currently Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council in the Office of Policy within the DHS, and a fictitious telephone number that is not associated with the DHS. The Department strongly discourages recipients from responding in any manner to this correspondence.

Consumers who receive such material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:

  • If the proposal was received via e-mail or the Internet, please file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at;

  • If the proposal was received via the U.S. Postal Service, please file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspector Service by telephone at 1-888-877-7644, by mail at U.S. Postal Inspection Service, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60606-6100 or via e-mail at


Any information regarding the subject of this alert may be brought to the attention of the DHS at, or you may visit their Web site at

Additional information concerning this matter that you believe should be brought to the attention of the OCC may be forwarded to:
Mail:Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Special Supervision Division, MS 6-4
250 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20219
Fax:(202) 874-5214

For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC’s anti-fraud resource at:


Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance

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