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First Federal Savings Bank counterfeit official checks

First Federal Savings Bank of Champaign-Urbana

Champaign, IL

Contact: 
Elizabeth Reed
First Federal Savings Bank of Champaign-Urbana
1311 S. Neil St., P.O. Box 1010
Champaign, IL 61824-1010 United States of America
Voice (217) 356-2265
Fax (217) 356-2502

The above-named bank has reported that at least five variations of counterfeit official bank checks using the bank’s routing number of 271170390 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with various online employment opportunity scams involving mystery shopping and automobile advertising wraps.

The counterfeit checks resemble the bank’s authentic items but may be identified by the following traits:

  • Variation No. 1
    • The check is light blue with a marbled background.
    • The bank’s logo is black and grey in color.
    • The bank’s phone number is missing under the address.
    • The following security statement appears in the top border: “THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK.”
    • The following statement appears under the authorized signature: “One SIGNATURE REQUIRED OVER $25,000.”
  • Variation No. 2
    • The check is light blue with a marbled background.
    • The check number is printed in red.
    • The bank’s phone number is missing under the address.
    • The following security statement appears in the top border: “THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK.”
  • Variation No. 3
    • The check color is unknown.
    • The bank’s phone number is missing under the address.
    • The following security statement appears in the top border: “THE FACE OF THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND ON WHITE PAPER.”
    • The following security statement appears in the bottom border: “THE BACK OF THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CHECK SECURITY WATERMARK AND COIN REACTIVE INK.”
    • A padlock icon and security statement are located within the right border.
    • The following statement appears under the authorized signature: “One SIGNATURE REQUIRED OVER $25,000.”
    • A heat shield is located in the bottom-center portion of the check.
  • Variation No. 4
    • The check color is unknown.
    • The bank’s phone number is missing under the address.
    • The following security statement appears in the top border: “VOID IF COLORED BACKGROUND IS MISSING. A TRUE WATERMARK APPEARS IN DIAMOND WEAVE PATTERN WHEN HELD TO THE LIGHT. VERIFY AUTHENTICITY BY RUBBING RED LS LOGO BELOW.”
    • The following trademark statement appears along the right border of the check: “LaserSecure Fraud-Resistant Laser Checks.”
    • A heatshield is located to the right of the authorized signature line with the words: “Rub Here – Ink Disappears.”
    • The following statement appears under the authorized signature: “One SIGNATURE REQUIRED OVER $25,000.”
  • Variation No. 5
    • The check color is unknown.
    • The bank’s phone number is missing under the address.
    • There are no security statements on the check.

Checks presented to date have been made payable in amounts ranging from $1890.50 to $2,483.94.

Known scams include the following:
Secret Shopper Money Transfer Service
Potential victims of the mystery shopping scam have received correspondence accompanying the check, which contains the names of a nationally known retail store and money transfer service within the letterhead. The correspondence instructs the potential victims to confirm receipt of the packet by sending an email to [cssevaluate@gmail.com] and [averyg@works-desk.org]. The recipient is further instructed to deposit the funds at his or her financial institution and to email a copy of the deposit slip to the perpetrator. The letter informs the recipient to retain $400 for commission and to purchase a small dollar amount cashier’s check made payable to “First Book” under the guise that this will be donated to charity. The majority of the funds are to be used to conduct two wire transfers to the perpetrators at a well-known retail store for the purported purpose of the victim surveying the services of the money transfer center located within the retail store. The following statement is contained within the letter: “Under no circumstances should you acknowledge that you are evaluating their services as that will defeat the purpose of the whole program, some of the security questions which can trip you include, but not limited to the following: If or when asked if you are a mystery shopper, answer NO. If or when asked if you know the recipients, answer YES.” The correspondence contains a point-of-contact name of Grace Avery, Corporate Research International, with text message telephone numbers of 646-948-1569 and 646-349-2344.

Secret Shopper Gift Card
Potential victims of the gift card scam have received correspondence accompanying the counterfeit check, which contains the name of a well-known mobile device management and entertainment application. The correspondence instructs the potential victims to confirm receipt of the packet by sending either an email to [admin@22itunes.com] and [judithbrant@outlook.com]. The recipient is further instructed to deposit the funds at his or her financial institution and to confirm the deposit with an email to the perpetrator. The letter informs the recipient to retain a small portion of the deposited funds for commission and fees as well as for a charitable donation to be made later. The majority of the funds are to be used in at least two separate transactions purchasing $100- and $50-denomination gift cards at any retail store for the purported purpose of the victim surveying the conduct of the sales representatives. The following statement is contained within the letter: “At the stores; under no circumstances should you acknowledge that you are evaluating their services as that will defeat the purpose of the whole program, some of the security questions which can trip you include, but not limited to the following: If or when asked if you are a mystery shopper or was sent by SOMEONE, answer NO. If or when asked if you know the recipients of the Cards, answer YES, FAMILY GIFTS.” Following the purchase of the cards, the potential victim is told to scratch the cards to reveal the card numbers and to send photos of each card to the perpetrator. The correspondence contains a point-of-contact name of Judith Brant, Corporate Research International, with a text message telephone number of (636) 231-5719.

Automobile Wrap Advertising
Potential victims of the car wrap scam have received correspondence accompanying the counterfeit check, which contains the name of a nationally known brewing company within the letterhead. The potential victims are told to deposit the check into his or her bank account and send the perpetrator a copy of the deposit slip. The letter instructs the recipient to retain $400 for his or her service providing automobile wrap advertising for the company. The victim is instructed to visit a well-known money transmitter to conduct two wire transfers to the perpetrators for the purported purpose of paying decal specialists who will be in contact with details on performing the automobile wrap. Contact information contained within this correspondence includes the name of Daniel Crowder, an email address of [danielcrowder@vandex.com], and a text-only telephone number of 973-963-9354.

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