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Scams Involving the Federal Reserve Name
New Email Scam Regarding “Suspicious Activity”
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has become aware of a scam involving unsolicited emails regarding “Suspicious Activity” purportedly from a Federal Reserve Accounting Officer. The email falsely claims that an individual’s bank has contacted the Federal Reserve regarding a suspicious incoming wire transfer and asks the individual to complete an attached form “IIMT Form 401.” We strongly recommend you do not open any links contained in this fictitious email.Sample of Suspicious Activity Email
Please note the Federal Reserve will never send unsolicited emails to the public asking for personal information. Additionally, the Federal Reserve will never contact the public regarding a suspicious wire transfer.
New Scam E-mail Regarding a “Wire Transfer Accepted”
Please be alert to a scam involving unsolicited e-mails that claim to be sent by a fictitious "Federal Reserve Bank Auto Informer".
The e-mails are a series of fraudulent e-mails sent to individuals, companies and governmental agencies claiming to have successfully sent wire transfers to the recipients. Some of these e-mails claim to be from the Federal Reserve located at a non-existent address in either Charlotte DC, Charlotte SC, or Charlotte NC. Some of these fraudulent e-mails have been sent by email@example.com.
These e-mails have been sent in waves for a variety of amounts. The attached sample exhibit is for an amount just over $4,200. Other fraudulent e-mails claim to have sent wire transfers in amounts just over $16,000 or $32,000.
Please note that the Federal Reserve will never send unsolicited e-mails regarding a “Wire Transfer Accepted” or any other type of payment. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and other Federal Reserve Banks will never contact the public via unsolicited phone calls or e-mails asking for money or any other type of personal information. Moreover, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and other Federal Reserve Banks will never contact the public regarding the issuance of a wire transfer.
Remain alert to scams involving individuals who claim to be New York Fed employees or employees of the Federal Reserve System.
Scam E-mail Regarding a "Waiver Deduction Procedure"
Please be alert to a scam involving unsolicited e-mails that claim to be sent by the Report Fraud Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Please note that there is no known Waiver Deduction Procedure.
The New York Fed will never contact the public via unsolicited phone calls or e-mails asking for money or any other type of personal information.
Remain alert to scams involving individuals who claim to be New York Fed employees.
Scams Involving High Yield Investment Programs—Often Involving Private Placement Programs/Medium Term Notes
For more than a decade, the Federal Reserve has been warning the public about fraudulent investment schemes that go by various names, but generically are known as High Yield Investment Programs (also known as "Private Placement Programs," "Capital Enhancement Programs," "Riskless Principal Trading Programs," "Federal Reserve Trading Programs" or "Bank Debenture Trading Programs"). These schemes continue to be used to target innocent investors. The programs purport to be highly secretive, but the marketer of the fraud scheme claims to have connections to the Federal Reserve or some other internationally renowned organization such as the United Nations, the IMF or the World Bank. The marketer claims that through these connections, members of the public can participate in very lucrative programs of investments involving various types of financial instruments, such as Medium Term Notes, standby letters of credit, and/or "prime bank" guarantees. These fraudulent "programs" are presented as legitimate investment vehicles being offered by traders or marketers with special "invitation only" access to the secret program operated by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Fraudsters claim that proceeds from the programs are slated for investment, often overseas. Fictitious letters with seemingly convincing letterhead are often used to convince targets that the programs are legitimate.
Targets are told that in order to participate they must provide the fraudster with verification of large (usually multi-million dollar) deposits in a personal bank account and copies of personal information containing pictures and signature information, such as driver’s licenses or passports. The fraudsters usually give "guarantees," frequently in writing that the money will remain in the target’s account, under his or her sole control, throughout the term of the program. However, the targeted victims are often asked to sign multiple bank documents that often allow the fraudster to act as a co-signer. This authority permits the scammer to wire transfer the money out of the account, despite the guarantee never to move the funds. In other instances, the fraudster has available to him the documentation necessary to impersonate the target and take the money from the designated account.
Employees of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Federal Reserve System will not offer investments to the general public. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve does not authorize, license, or sanction agents or traders to deal with the general public for High Yield Investment Programs.
The fraudsters market these schemes to investors in a number of ways, often describing overly complex and nonsensical transactions. Specifically, the fraudsters have been known to use some or all of the following false claims or descriptions in an attempt to enhance the credibility of the scam:
Scam Involving Fictitious Federal Reserve Grant
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is aware of an ongoing scam that involves fraudsters claiming to be from the Federal Reserve (sometimes using the name James Carter) contacting the public through unsolicited phone calls or emails regarding a fictitious $7000 federal grant. In most instances regarding this scam, the fraudsters require the victims to wire a certain sum of money (via Western Union or Moneygram) in order to receive the fictitious grant. The victim is told this money is needed for an application fee, a charitable donation or a processing fee in order for the fictitious grant money to be released. After the victim wires these funds, the victim is contacted again and requested to wire additional money for one final fee in order to receive the fictitious grant money. Of course, the victims will never receive any grant money as this program does not exist.
Please note the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is NOT involved in any federal grant program. We urge the public to remain alert to fraudulent scams involving individuals who purport to be employees of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York does not maintain grant money or any other type of funds / accounts for individuals.
Please remember: the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will never contact the public via unsolicited phone calls or e-mails asking for money or any other type of personal information.
Update to Scam Involving Fictitious Federal Reserve E-mail and Web Addresses
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is aware of continuous scams that use fictitious e-mail and web addresses purporting to be official Federal Reserve addresses. In some instances, unsolicited e-mails are sent to individuals regarding fictitious lottery winnings, bogus bank accounts and/or collateral that are claimed to be at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In other instances, the e-mail will ask individuals to click on links to receive more information about their fictitious account or a fictitious wire transfer they sent. We strongly recommend that you do not attempt to open these links as they might contain malicious code which could infect your computer.
Please remain alert to fraudulent scams involving individuals who purport to be employees of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Read the sections below for information on samples of various scams that have been attempted. Please note that below is an updated list of fraudulent e-mail addresses that are known to have been used in these scams.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York will never send an e-mail asking for personal information.
Some addresses used in these scams include:
Scam Involving Fictitious Federal Reserve E-mail and Web Addresses
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is aware of many scams that use fictitious e-mail and web addresses purporting to be official Federal Reserve addresses. In some instances, unsolicited e-mails are sent to individuals from these addresses regarding fictitious bank accounts that they have at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In other instances, the e-mail will ask individuals to click on links to receive more information about their fictitious account or a fictitious wire transfer they sent. We strongly recommend that you do not attempt to open these links.
Some addresses used in these scams include:
If you are contacted in an unsolicited e-mail from someone claiming to be from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, or if you have information relating to this or any fraud please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scam Involving Fraudulent Bonded Promissory Notes (BPNs)
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has become aware of numerous attempts to present fraudulent bonded promissory notes which reference a fictitious bond account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The fraudster claims to have a bond account in excess of $100,000,000 established at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (or at another Federal Reserve Bank) upon which he or she can issue bonded promissory notes as forms of legal payment for debt. Sometimes the fraudulent bonded promissory notes are remitted as payment for debts owed by the fraudster issuing the bond, while in other cases the fraudulent bonded promissory notes are used in attempts to pay the debts of third parties. Fraudsters have attempted to use fraudulent bonded promissory notes to pay for various items including automobiles, mortgage payoffs and medical and veterinarian bills.
These documents are fraudulent and will not be honored if presented.
A promissory note is a form of debt similar to a loan or an IOU. An individual (investor) makes an agreement to loan money to a company in exchange for a fixed return from the company, usually principal plus annual interest. While some promissory notes are indeed legitimate, they are rarely available to the general public. If the promissory note claims to be payable through an account held at a Federal Reserve Bank, the note is fraudulent.
Sample Fraud ›› (jpg - 340 kb)
If you have reason to believe you have invested in a fraudulent promissory note, you should contact your local FBI office.
Marco Peter Kunkel/Brandy Kelvin Advance Fee Scam
It has come to the attention of the New York Fed that there is a new advance fee scam being committed using the New York Fed name. An advance fee scam is a fraud that urges a target to send a specific sum of money to a person or entity up front in order to receive a larger amount of money. Many times the fraudster asks for the target’s personal information, including bank account information, in order to send this promised larger amount of money. Release of this personal information may facilitate identity theft.
The recent scam involves a fraudulent e-mail from persons purporting to be either employees or agents of the New York Fed, including Mr. Marco Peter Kunkel or Mrs. Brandy Kelvin. The e-mail informs the targets that an account has been opened in his or her name at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and that funds have been deposited in this account. The e-mail instructs the targets to pay a surcharge in order to activate this account and access the funds that have been deposited in their name. The e-mail will sometimes provide a username and password for the target to use to access this fictitious account, as well as wiring instructions for the surcharges. The e-mail will sometimes include fraudulent Federal Reserve documents, including fictitious identification cards of employees. The fraudsters have even begun to use the names of actual Federal Reserve Bank of New York employees in this scam.
The e-mail addresses used in this scam include:
These fraudsters have also created the following fraudulent website in an effort to spoof the official Federal Reserve Bank of New York site, and to facilitate their scam:
See Sample Scams:
If you are contacted in an unsolicited e-mail claiming that you have funds on deposit with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, or have information regarding this fraud please contact Kristin Sturm or Robert Amenta in the Investigations Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. They can be reached at the following
Scam Involving the Use of Actual Federal Reserve Bank of New York Employees’ Names in Unsolicited E-mails
Please be alert to a fraudulent scam involving individuals who claim to be actual Federal Reserve Bank of New York employees in unsolicited e-mails to defraud the public.
Click to see various samples of this fraudulent scheme:
Scam Involving Fraudulent Checks Purporting to be From a University
of Illinois Account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has recently become aware of a large number of fraudulent checks presented for processing through the Federal Reserve system. The checks purport to be from the University of Illinois and bear a Tampa, Florida address, rather than an Illinois address. These sham checks claim to be drawn on a University of Illinois account allegedly maintained at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, routing number 021001208.
These sham checks are usually made out to individuals in the United States in amounts between $3,500 and $4,800. It appears that these checks originate from overseas. In some instances the checks are received by individuals trying to sell items on eBay or craigslist. In those instances, the checks received by the sellers are in amounts exceeding the cost of the goods, with the "Purchaser" requesting that the seller remit the overage back to the buyer, less a small fee for their inconvenience. In other instances, "new employees" are solicited to engage in check cashing activities, keeping a fee and remitting the remainder via a money remitter.
These checks are fraudulent. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York does not offer commercial account services of this type.
If you receive a check purporting to be from a University of Illinois account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or have information regarding this fraud please contact Robert Amenta, Senior Special Investigator at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.