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Special Alerts

April 14, 2008

TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (also of interest to Security Officer)
SUBJECT: Counterfeit Official Checks
Summary: Counterfeit official checks bearing the name High Desert State Bank, Rio Rancho, New Mexico, are reportedly in circulation.

High Desert State Bank, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has contacted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to report that counterfeit official checks bearing the institution's name are in circulation. The items are reportedly associated with a mystery shopper scam.

The counterfeit items display the routing number 107006677, which is assigned to High Desert State Bank. The items are markedly dissimilar to authentic cashier's checks and display a "VOID" background when copied. The words "OFFICIAL CHECK" appear inside a rectangle with rounded corners centered just below the top border. The bank's name and location are in the top-left corner and "NAME OF REMITTER" is shown in the lower-left corner. The bank's name and location are repeated as "DRAWER" below the signature line along with the address "3002 Southern Blvd Se [sic], Rio Rancho, New Mexico."

High Desert State Bank does not issue official checks; however, it does issue cashier's checks. Authentic cashier's checks have ornate borders and display the following security statement within the top border: "Front of document features colored background inside this high resolution border and a white band outside of border. Back of document has grey printing on a white background. 'Security Document' is micro-printed in bottom border and 'Authorized Signature' in signature line." The words "CASHIER'S CHECK" are shown inside a rectangle with outward-pointing ornate arrows at each end in the top-center area. A "NOTICE TO CUSTOMER," an indemnity bond statement and "REMITTER" appear in the top-left corner. The bank's logo, name, the phrase "MEMBER FDIC," and address appear in the lower-left corner. A padlock icon and security wording are on the right side and the phrase "TWO SIGNATURES REQUIRED OVER $2500" appears above two signature lines.

Copies of a counterfeit item and an authentic 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:

Barbara Evans
Vice President
High Desert State Bank
3002 Southern Boulevard, Southeast
Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87124
Telephone: (505) 798-1133 or (505) 821-9854
Fax: (505) 896-3680
E-mail: bevans@highdesertsb.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/2008/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 4/14/2008 communications@fdic.gov