What is check fraud?
Check fraud is the manipulation and illegal use of checks, and it is one of the largest challenges facing businesses and financial institutions today. With the advancement of computer technology, it is increasingly easy for criminals to manipulate checks. A significant amount of check fraud is due to counterfeiting through desktop publishing and copying to create or duplicate an actual financial document. Another method of check fraud is chemical alteration, which consists of removing some or all of the information and manipulating it to the benefit of the criminal. Victims include financial institutions, businesses that accept and issue checks, and consumers. In most cases, check fraud begins with the theft of a financial document. The most common theft methods are stealing blank checks from a home or vehicle during a burglary, searching for canceled or old checks in the garbage, and removing a check from a mailbox.
Check Fraud Prevention Techniques
- Never keep your bank statements, checks, deposit slips, debit cards, or credit cards in an unsecured place, especially not out in the open at home or at your place of business.
- Create a habit of locking your financial information away when not being utilized.
- Be sure to shred all financial documents before throwing them away.
- Consider other electronic methods (ACH or wire transfer) to make payments to reduce the number of checks you have in circulation and to help reduce potential check fraud exposure.
- When closing an account, be certain to destroy any unused checks and deposit slips and keep the old records secured.
- Purchase your check stock from our approved vendor to ensure quality of your check stock. Consider adding a unique quality to the checks, which may increase the level of difficulty in duplicating the checks.