Cheque Fraud

image of a hand signing a cheque

Protect yourself from Cheque Fraud:

What is Cheque Fraud?
Cheque fraud is one of the largest challenges facing businesses and financial institutions today. With the advancement of computer technology it increasingly easy for criminals, either independently or in organized gangs, to manipulate checks in such a way as to deceive innocent victims expecting value in exchange for their money.
A significant amount of cheque fraud is due to counterfeiting through desktop publishing (graphic manipulation) and copying to create or duplicate an actual financial document, as well as 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 who accept and issue checks, and the consumer. In most cases, these crimes begin with the theft of a financial document. It can be perpetrated as easily as someone stealing a blank check from your home or vehicle during a burglary, searching for a cancelled or old check in the garbage, or removing a check you have mailed to pay a bill from the mailbox.
Cheque Fraud Tips for the Consumer
  • Make sure your checks are endorsed by your financial institution and incorporate security features that help combat counterfeiting and alteration.

  • Store your cheque, deposit slips, bank statements and cancelled checks in a secure and locked location. Never leave your checkbook in your vehicle or in the open.

  • Reconcile your bank statement within 30 days of receipt in order to detect any irregularities. Otherwise, you may become liable for any losses due to check fraud.

  • Never give your account number to people you do not know, especially over the telephone. Be particularly aware of unsolicited phone sales. Fraud artists can use your account without your authorization and you may end up being responsible.

  • When you receive your cheque order, make sure all of the cheque are there, and that none are missing. Report missing cheque to your bank at once. Should you fail to receive your order by mail, alert your bank.

  • If someone pays you with a cashier's check, have them accompany you to the bank to cash it. If at all possible, only accept a cheque during normal business hours so you can verify whether it is legitimate. Make sure you obtain identification information from the individual.

  • Limit the amount of personal information on your cheque. For example, do not include your Social Security, driver's license or telephone numbers on your cheque. A criminal can use this information to literally steal your identity by applying for a credit card or loan in your name, or even open a new checking account.

  • Don't leave blank spaces on the payee and amount lines.

  • Don't write your credit card number on the cheque.

  • Use your own pre-printed deposit slips, and make sure the account number on your slip is correct. Thieves occasionally alter deposit slips in the hope you won't notice and the money goes into their account.

  • Don't make a cheque payable to cash. If lost or stolen, the check can be cashed by anyone.
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