In an increasingly digital world, you might expect check fraud to be a thing of the past. However, check fraud remains a prevalent form of financial crime that continues to pose a significant threat to individuals and businesses alike.
Personal and business checks are still widely used as a standard method of payment for both consumers and businesses. They are beneficial to utilize for bills and expenses such as rent, utilities, daycare, taxes, donations, payroll, etc. Unfortunately, in recent months, check fraud has been on the rise and there is currently a nationwide surge in mail-related check theft. It is important to know how to protect yourself from falling victim to this deceptive practice and as a trusted check provider, we want to do our part to help you mitigate this risk for yourself and protect your assets.
So, What Is Check Fraud?
Check fraud refers to the act of using deceitful tactics to gain unauthorized access to someone’s financial resources by altering, forging, or counterfeiting checks. Fraudsters exploit vulnerabilities in the traditional check payment system to steal money or goods, leaving victims facing substantial financial losses and potential legal consequences.
Types of Check Fraud
Check fraud can come in many forms but here are some of the most common.
Forgery: In this form of check fraud, a perpetrator alters or falsifies the signature on a check to make it appear legitimate and may also modify the payee’s name, the amount of the check, or the check’s date.
Counterfeit Checks: Criminals produce counterfeit checks by replicating legitimate checks using advanced printing techniques. These counterfeit checks can deceive both individuals and financial institutions.
Check Kiting: Check kiting involves taking advantage of the time delay between depositing a check and its clearance. Fraudsters open multiple bank accounts and intentionally write checks from one account with insufficient funds, depositing the funds from another account. By exploiting the delay, they can withdraw cash before the financial institution identifies the fraudulent activity.
Check Washing: In check washing, the perpetrator erases or modifies the payee’s name and the amount on a legitimate check using chemicals or solvents. This allows them to reassign the payment to themselves or a designated accomplice.
Protecting Yourself from Check Fraud
Prevention is the key to safeguarding yourself and your finances from the perils of check fraud. So how do you protect yourself? Here are some essential measures you can take:
Secure Mail Delivery: Use secure mailboxes or consider switching to electronic statements to reduce the risk of check theft.
Monitor Bank Accounts: Regularly review your bank statements, account balances, and transactions to detect any unauthorized activity promptly.
Shred Sensitive Documents: Dispose of old checks, bank statements, and financial documents securely by shredding them before discarding.
Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Never share personal or financial information over the phone or via email unless you have initiated the contact and are certain of the recipient’s identity.
Strengthen Security Measures: Implement strong passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and keep your computer and mobile devices updated with the latest security patches and antivirus software.
Use a Gel Pen: While the type of pen you use for checks may not be top of mind, it can make a huge difference. By using a black gel ink pen rather than a ballpoint pen, you make it more difficult for scammers to remove the ink from the check to commit fraud.
Educate Yourself: Stay informed about the latest fraud schemes and techniques employed by criminals to better protect yourself and your finances.
Order From a Reputable Source: There are plenty of options in the marketplace for ordering checks, but the truth is that not all vendors are created equal. Make sure to do your research to make sure your check vendor has adequate security measures to protect your personal data. Things like BBB Accreditation, SOC II Compliance, High-Security Checks, or Advanced Security Features are all great things to look for before clicking “Add to Cart”.
While the digital age has brought immense convenience to the world of finance, it has also opened doors for sophisticated forms of fraud, including check fraud. Remaining vigilant and taking proactive measures to protect your finances is crucial in mitigating the risk of falling victim to this deceptive practice. By staying informed, implementing preventive measures, and exercising caution, you can minimize the chances of being targeted by check fraud and safeguard your hard-earned money.
What Check Security Features Does Checkworks Offer?
These are some of the advanced features that Checkworks customers can enjoy when they shop with us:
- Chemically Sensitive Paper – Prevents alteration of your checks.
- Microprint Signature Line – Very small letters that can be read through a magnifying glass, but which appear to the unaided eye to be dashed or solid lines. An “MP” designator is used in conjunction with the micro-printed text.
- Security Screen – Very light printing on the back of the document with reversed text not easily duplicated by a color copier or scanning/laser printer.
- Padlock Icon and Warning Box – Warns consumers that Security Features are present on the document. This Icon and Warning Box is authorized only by the “CPSA” Check Printers Stationery Association to check printing companies who have met the above requirements.
- Additional Security Features – We do not make it public to provide you with additional protection.
- Our Security Features – Exceed the requirements of all Financial Institutions.
- Heat Sensitive Ink – Red image will fade with heat. Rub, hold between thumb & finger, or breathe on image for reaction.
Unlike other sellers, at Checkworks, we protect your privacy, and never sell, rent, or share customer information with third parties. Avoid check fraud and protect your finances by purchasing your checks from Checkworks today.