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Check Fraud Prevention Solutions

By Bethany Taylor April 08, 2020 0 comments

Check Fraud Prevention Solutions

One of the most common forms of white-collar crime, check fraud, accounts for 35% of bank fraud and costs American businesses and banks approximately $50 billion every year. Popular cases like the Walmart Check Fraud, the Huang Weimin Check Fraud, and the TD Bank Check Fraud scams are proof that nobody is really safe from identity theft crimes, which is why you must set up proactive measures to protect your business.

Types Of Check Fraud

Before we delve into workable efforts that can help you prevent or protect your business from check scams, take a look at the three most common forms of check fraud:
  • Forgery: This entails an unauthorized person using the drawer's signature to sign or endorse a check. As far as the drawer of the forged signature is concerned, the check is meaningless as the drawee bank is, in most cases, held responsible for the subsequent loss.
  • Check Theft: Check theft involves stealing and cashing the check of another person with criminal intent.
  • Check Washing: This process involves using chemicals to clear information from checks and rewriting them for criminal purposes like fraudulent withdrawal from the drawer's bank account.
Check fraud can hit your company's bottom line directly and disrupt your business. Imagine the trouble you'd have to go through closing accounts, stopping payments, ordering new checks, and reissuing payments. Ultimately, your business needs measures to protect itself against check fraud. At times, an effort as small as incorporating reliable check signer solutions into your business can save you from the frustration of check crimes.

Different Causes of Check Fraud

The following factors have contributed to the rising cases of check fraud:

Advancement in Technology

Advancement in technology is one of the reasons why check fraud is still rampant. The internet has enabled this vice as criminals now have access to the same software, computers, and printers that businesses use to create their legitimate checks. This makes forgeries almost impossible to detect. There are even sites where you can buy fraudulently printed checks. Also, more consumers are using smartphones for check depositing, which makes them vulnerable to check fraud.

Poor Storage of Personal Information

Poor storage of personal information is another cause of check fraud. When you leave important documents lying around in the office or at home, the information may become available to the wrong person. This lack of security of personal information provides the opportunity for anyone with wandering eyes to commit fraud. Leaving your checkbook in an open area also puts you at risk of fraud as it may land in the wrong hands. It is for this reason that check signer solutions are vital as they ensure your checks only become valid when they have a signature from the application.

Dishonest Signatories

Unscrupulous employees also play a major role in this type of fraud. Your trusted check signatory may be the one stealing from you. They can do this by writing a check for an amount higher than the amount owed to the payee and then collecting the difference from the individual after payment. You should always reconcile your accounts regularly to catch fraudulent transactions on time. You can find various check fraud report centers around the country, including:
  • The Harris County Check Fraud Division
  • The Santa Cruz County Check Fraud Department
  • Check Fraud New Hampshire
  • The FSS Check Fraud Department
  • Institutions such as the Wells Fargo Check Fraud Department

How to Stop Check Fraud

The Bank of America Check Fraud Department and the National Check Fraud Center have outlined the steps that one should follow to stop check fraud.
  1. Store your deposit slips, canceled checks, bank statements, and checks in a locked drawer or cabinet. Do not leave your checkbook in an open place.
  2. Destroy canceled checks and ATM receipts. These contain your bank balance, account details, account statements, and deposit tickets. The information that is in these simple documents is enough for someone to impersonate you and withdraw cash from your bank account.
  3. If you lose your checkbook, immediately report the loss to your bank to stop any payments from the lost checks and avoid stolen check fraud. Also, if someone breaks into your home or office, you should go through your checkbook and account for all the checks. The reason for doing this is to identify any checks that may have been removed from the middle, which you might not notice unless you carefully go through the checkbook.
  4. Use check signer solutions through your bank to prevent someone else from signing a check. When you do this, your bank can instantly detect a forged check when it is presented to them.
  5. Limit mailing your bills to daytime and, if possible, just before the time the mailman picks up the mail. Criminals go through mailboxes looking for checks which they take and endorse, photocopy or cash. They can also alter the check or scan it. If possible, mail your checks and bills from the post office and not your home mailbox. In the same regard, do not leave incoming mail for too long in your mailbox as this is another place where important documents can also fall into the hands of criminals.
  6. Your checks should contain as little personal information as possible. Telephone, driver's license, and social security numbers should never appear on your checks as this is vital information that a criminal can use to steal your identity, as well as take out a loan, get a credit card or open a checking account.
  7. When writing a check, cancel blank spaces and amount lines as they can be used to alter a check.
  8. Your credit card number should not appear on your check
  9. Ask for pre-printed deposit slips from your bank that contain your account number; this type of deposit slip is difficult to alter.
  10. For checking account fraud protection, avoid writing cash payable checks as anyone can cash them if they get lost.
  11. You should always endorse your checks just before depositing them. Lost checks that are already endorsed are easy to alter to make payments to another entity.
  12. When signing checks, use a pen that is not chemically washable. Alternatively, employ non-alterable check signer solutions to sign all your checks.

How to Avoid Check Fraud

Since check fraud is an issue that affects most businesses, everyone should know how to avoid it in the first place. Preventing check fraud involves the collaboration of the organization and its bank. Here are some measures you can take to help prevent convenience check fraud.

Check Signing

Check signatories should verify that the checks they sign are a representation of a legitimate business transaction. Signatories are responsible for all payments made; illegally or fraudulently drawn checks can leave the signatory open to a criminal investigation. A signatory should verify all the details of the check before signing it. If they suspect fraudulent activity, they should follow company procedures to report check fraud.

Verify Check Amounts and Payees

To avoid check-cashing fraud schemes, signatories should never sign blank checks. If someone steals and cashes the check, the signatory will be held liable. The signatory should also ensure that the amount payable is due to the payee; if in doubt, they should ask for documentation to justify the payment. Invoices from the payee should accompany any request for a check. The written amount should match the numerical amount owed, and any blank spaces after that should be canceled to avoid alteration. If you are using check signer solutions, ensure that all the information is correct before signing the checks.

Follow Accounting Procedures

Check signatories should be familiar with accounting procedures in their organization as they have the responsibility to identify improperly issued checks. As a signatory, you should not shy away from asking questions regarding the payment before you sign a check. If you have suspicions regarding a check, consult with your colleagues or your superiors and keep a record of all the checks you sign. You should also check into cash fraud and make a fraud check report as future evidence in case of criminal proceedings.

Business Checks

Business organizations have multiple accounts to cater for various expenses. As a check signatory, it is your responsibility to know which account pays which expense. For instance, a general account caters to the organization's general expenses while a payroll account is for employees' remuneration. Although it is the responsibility of the accounting supervisor to verify that all checks come out of the correct accounts, when the check signatory appends his or her signature, they can be held liable if the check turns out to be a fraud.

How to Choose the Best Check Signer Solutions

The primary reason for using check signer solutions is for security and efficiency purposes. Will such a solution save you time when signing multiple checks in comparison to signing them by hand? Can you ensure the security of the signer and only allow access to it by authorized users?
The best factor to consider when choosing check signer solutions is your organizational preferences. Some organizations prefer to print the checks first before signing, while others want to print and sign the check at the same time. The method that is right for your business depends on your division of authority for the check signing process. However, the most efficient method is to have the check printed and signed at the same time as this saves time and gets more work done quickly.

Check Signers – How Do They Work?

A check signer does not only sign checks; it also signs any other documents that require signatures such as mailers and payrolls. The signer uses a metal signature plate containing the signature. The curved metal plate spins 360 degrees while rolling on the paper and signing it in the process. All check signers have built-in security measures to prevent unauthorized persons from printing checks. Some of the security measures employed include entering a passcode before operating the machine and a key lock that prevents access to the signature plate.

Why Should You Use PBS Office Check Signing Solutions?

Since 1988, Progressive Business Systems Inc has been providing checking signing solutions to businesses big and small with the aim of cutting down the high rate of check fraud schemes. Our company provides MICR laser check printing solutions, forms handling, check signing, and safe document destruction measures.
At PBS Office, we offer Wycom systems that help companies sign their checks. Wycom has a range of products that include check signers and cash counters. They also have a Check Resource Center for all inquiries and check signing services that your company needs. Additionally, when you work with us at PBS Office, you will have access to our dedicated team with vast knowledge and commitment to ensuring your company's success in preventing check fraud.

Wycom Signers and Printers

Wycom systems have provided cost-effective check signing solutions to businesses for decades. Wycom machines are secure as they require a log-in and password to access them to prevent fraud as well as an audit log, which details all the people who have accessed the check signer. Some Wycom check signer solutions restrict the signing of checks if the amount on the check exceeds a set limit. If anyone tries to submit a check for over the designated amount into the machine, it will refuse it and require manual signing. By doing this, your organization can secure large disbursements from your accounts.
To learn more about increasing your company's efficiency and security with a check signer, visit our website or call one of our friendly and professional staff members. You are also free to review our products and services online to see how they help improve business operations around the world.

FAQs on Check Fraud Prevention

How do I Print a Check?

When you have a check-signing printer, you only need to enter the information in the required fields and click on the print icon. However, before you hit the print icon, you should review all the check details to establish that all the information is correct.

How Do I Stop Check Fraud?

The most effective way to stop check fraud is to secure your checks and personal information. Do not leave your checkbook in an open place and avoid sending checks through the mail.

How Do I Tell if a Cashier's Check is a Fraud?

When you suspect a fake cashier's check, the first thing you should do is check the word amount against the number amount and ensure they match. The next step is to examine the signature for tracing lines or shaky writing; the signature should be smooth. Lastly, make sure the account number is not shiny, as this can indicate an alteration.

What is a Card or Check Fraud Detection System?

This is a system that detects fraudulent checks and fraudulent use of credit cards. When you lose a credit card, you should report the loss to your credit company immediately so they can lock the card and prevent further transactions. If someone uses the card after the lockdown, the system notifies the company. The system also scans checks for special security features that a genuine check should have.

How Can I Report Check Fraud

If you suspect a fake check scam, you must report it to the Federal Trade Commission for an FBI check fraud investigation. If the fraudulent check came through the mail, you should report it to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or call them at (800) 274-8777. You should also report the issue to your bank accompanied by an affidavit of check fraud 2020.

Is Knowingly Sending a Bad Check Mail Fraud?

Yes, knowingly sending a bad check through the mail is fraud. If you suspect that a check issued to you is a forgery, you should immediately report it to the authorities. On the other hand, you should never write or send a check with the knowledge that you have insufficient funds in your account.

What is Ez Shield Check Fraud Protection?

Ez Shield Check Fraud protection is a certified check fraud protection program that protects you when a criminal uses signature forgery, check alteration, or fake check endorsement to access your funds. Ez Shield provides funds advancement not exceeding $25,000 in less than 72 hours after you report fraud. The program also provides you with a fraud specialist to advise you on ways to avoid check fraud.

Is Check Fraud by Ez Shield Worthwhile?

Ez Shield is worthwhile as it offers check fraud protection for your funds. If criminals manage to access your funds by forging your signature or altering your check, Ez Shield will replace the fraudulently obtained funds in less than 72 hours.

How do Banks Investigate Fraud Checks?

When a bank suspects a fraudulent check, it is their duty first to scan the check's security features to determine authenticity. If unsatisfied, they should call the owner of the check to establish if they wrote it.

What to do if You're a Victim of Fake Cashier's Check Fraud?

Fake cashier checks from those buying items off of Craigslist is one form of cashier check fraud. If you are a victim of a cashier's check scam, you must immediately report the fraud to the police and state. You can also report the scam to The Federal Trade Commission, your State Attorney General, or the Postal Inspection Service.

Is Check Fraud Protection Worth It?

Most people feel that check fraud protection is worth it as it insures your money in case someone accesses it through check fraud.

Who is Responsible for Investigating Check Fraud?

The Federal Trade Commission, your State Attorney General, the Postal Inspection Service, and the police are responsible for the investigation of check fraud depending on where the fraud occurs.

I Deposited a Check that Cleared; However, Now My Bank is Accusing Me Of Check Fraud, But It Wasn't Me. Am I Liable?

In this case, you can only be liable if an investigation determines that you knowingly deposited a fraudulent check. If you are a victim of check fraud, you cannot be held liable for another person's criminal activities.

How Do I Find Out if a Cashed Check is a Fraud?

You can start by establishing if the amount in words matches the amount in numbers. The signature on the check should be smooth and not appear traced.

Should I Report a Fraudulent Check to the Police?

When you suspect a check scam, you should immediately report it to the police. This will provide you with check fraud victim assistance and documentation in case of future prosecution. Make sure that you answer all check fraud and other investigation questions asked by the police to speed up the probe. Reporting these instances quickly and complying with all legal proceedings can also help you avoid check fraud charges and possible jail time.

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