3 Scary Check Frauds That You Should Know About (How to Be Safe)

by Darwin on May 27, 2018


Contrary to popular belief, checks are pretty vulnerable. Think about it, it’s basically a piece of paper that has your account number, routing number, and your signature on it. Over the years, people with criminal intentions have come up with all sorts of ways to steal money by forging, altering, and counterfeiting paper checks. Check fraud also includes scamming unsuspecting people by writing them bad checks.

For most personal users, paper checks may seem like an archaic way of making and receiving payments. Businesses, however, continue to rely on paper checks for paying salaries, utility bills, and vendors. The sheer number of checks received and issued by businesses makes them susceptible to the threat of check fraud. The only way to stay safe is to know these scams and take preventive  measures to keep them from hurting your business. Simply by knowing how criminals use checks to con businesses and individuals, you are one step closer to preventing it from happening to you.

Check Washing: Like its name suggests, check washing involves washing the check using special solvents to remove the written details. Acetone, found in nail polish removers is a commonly used chemical to remove ink from paper. Criminals can use the check washing technique to erase recipient name, amount, and other details. Following that they rewrite the check so that the money is transferred to their account. The only way to prevent this from happening is by purchasing high-quality paper checks. Made from a special paper, some security checks release a dye, if they are exposed to solvents and chemicals. Another simple way of preventing check washing is by using security pens. These pens have special inks that bind to the paper and is thus impossible to remove without damaging the check. It’s also important to source paper checks from reputed sellers who employ proper security technologies. This is why the best place to order checks online is from a seller who is BBB accredited.

Paperhanging: This is a fraudulent activity that involves writing a check linked to a closed account. Con artists issue these checks to other individuals and businesses in exchange for services and products. By the time the fake check is processed and returned by the bank, the guy issuing these escapes the scene. The only way to avoid this from happening is by waiting for the funds to get cleared before delivering any goods or services. You can use app-based check deposit feature to quickly know if a check given to you is valid or not.

Counterfeiting: Armed with high-tech photocopiers and printers, criminals often try to duplicate checks. As seen in the movie Catch Me If You Can, check counterfeiting is a very real threat that can cost organizations millions of dollars. The best way to prevent this from happening is by switching to checks that use a number of anti-counterfeiting technologies. From simple watermarks and micro printed texts to fluorescent fiber weaving, these technologies work in tandem to prevent counterfeiting.



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