What is Check Fraud?
Check fraud is the result of a number of illegal activities designed to fraudulently access money from your checking account. A few of the ways this can be accomplished is by chemically altering an endorsement or pay to line, duplicating a check document and writing new checks or forging your signature onto a group of stolen check documents. Victims include not only the checking account holder but the financial institutions, businesses who accept the checks, and the consumer.
How does Check Fraud Occur?
In most cases, these crimes begin with the theft of a check document or checking account number. It can be perpetrated as easily as someone stealing a blank check from your home or vehicle during a burglary, searching for a canceled or old check in the garbage, or removing a check you have mailed to pay a bill from the mailbox. Once they have a consumer's number it can be used to create a new check document or for electronic transmission that access the account.
What should you do if you suspect Check Fraud?
- Contact your financial institution immediately. The bank will usually put a security alert on your file, place stop payments on your other checks
- File a Police Report
- Call CheckArmor® at 1-877-459-0050 to report the fraud
Check Fraud Tips
- Make sure your checks incorporate the standard security features that help combat counterfeiting and fraud. These features include:
- Chemically sensitive paper that will prevent the written information on your check from being altered by chemicals.
- Look for the padlock icon which is your assurance that security enhancements are being used in accordance with Check Payment Systems Association (CPSA) guidelines.
- Look for the MP Signature Line which indicates the presence of microprint to identify photocopying.
- The check backer should have a design that helps deter reproduction of the reverse side of the check.
- Store your checks, deposit slips and bank statements in a secure and locked area. Never leave your checkbook in a locked vehicle or out in the open.
- Reconcile your bank statements within 30 days of receipt of the statement.
- Never give your account number to anyone you do not know over the phone or web
- Shred any old canceled checks, deposits or account statements if you no longer need them for tax purposes.
- Check your new check order when it is received to ensure that all the checks are present. If not, contact your check provider immediately.
- Never put your Social Security number or Driver's License number on your printed checks.
- Do not leave blank spaces on your check on the payee or amount lines.
- Never endorse a check until you are ready to cash or deposit it.
- Never make a check payable to cash.
Sources: www.uslegal.com, www.thenortongroup.net, www.reference.com, www.consumerdebit.com, www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft, www.stopcheckfraud.com and www.ckfraud.org