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Alert 2008-38
Description: Southwest National Bank

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Southwest National Bank, Wichita, KS

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; Director, Office of Thrift Supervision; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel; and All Examining Personnel

The above-named bank has reported that counterfeit cashier’s checks issued in the bank’s name and using a correct routing number of 101100618 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with both a mystery shopping scam and overpayment scam.

The counterfeit checks do not resemble the authentic items and may be identified by the following traits: the instruments are appearing in a variety of colors including yellow, pink, and tan. The bank’s name and logo are printed in the lower-left corner of the instrument and may include a telephone number of 1-866-471-8240, which is not associated with the bank, but rather with the scammer. The following security statement is located within the top border of the check: “FOR SECURITY PURPOSES THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING IN THE BORDER.” The following security statement may be located within the bottom border surrounded by padlock icons: “SECURITY FEATURES INCLUDED. DETAILS ON BACK.”

Items presented to date in reference to the mystery shopping scams have been made payable in the amounts of $4,976 and $4,985 and may include a remitter name of either Harris Cole or Rena Keith.

Items presented in the overpayment scams have been made payable in amounts from $217 to $65,500. These checks may contain remitter names of Towne West Square, Bertha Coleman, or Harris Cole.

Due to possible variations in the appearance of the bank’s official items and differing scams associated with the counterfeit items, officials of Southwest National Bank suggest they be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank’s cashier’s checks if received from an unknown or questionable source.

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit checks may contain one of the following letterheads:

  • SSA, PO Box 5240, Madison, WI 53705
  • Certified Mystery Research Shoppers (CMRS), 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140.

The letter may be signed by Fran Mainella (Director, Operations). The correspondence informs the recipient that he or she has been selected to represent the company as a research-personnel or customer-service evaluator. It is explained that the enclosed cashier’s check is to be used during the assignment to make purchases at various merchants and to transfer money using a nationally known wire service. Recipients are instructed to contact either Savanah Richie at (514) 575-2976 or (514) 559-2904 or Jack Wilson at (514) 559-4657 for detailed instructions prior to depositing the check. Potential victims are required to keep the assignment confidential in accordance with the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which is enclosed with the check. Note that these telephone numbers originate out of Quebec.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Southwest National Bank’s cashier’s checks, please contact Pamela Watkins, Bookkeeping Supervisor/Vice President, 400 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202, by telephone at (316) 291-5310, by fax at (316) 942-7226, or via e-mail at [].

Consumers who receive a counterfeit or fictitious item and associated material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP or, for filing a complaint electronically, via the FTC’s Web site at

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canadian scams): by telephone at 1-888-495-8501 or via e-mail at []. Their Web site,, provides additional contact numbers.

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) – The BBB system serves markets throughout Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States, and is the marketplace leader in advancing trust between businesses and consumers. The international Web site offers contact information for local BBBs, objective reports on more than two million businesses, consumer scam alerts, and tips on a wide variety of topics that help consumers find trustworthy businesses and make wise purchasing decisions.

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Fraud Complaint Center (scams that may have originated via the Internet) at

  • If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspector Service by telephone at 1-888-877-7644, by mail at U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Office of Inspector General, Operations Support Group, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60606-6100, or via e-mail 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