What You Need to Know About Check Fraud

A man who looks stressed. He had his hands in his hair while looking at a laptop.

Reports of check fraud are up, despite the fact that fewer people are writing checks compared with a decade ago. As with any type of financial fraud, it is crucial to take steps to protect yourself from falling victim to it – even if you use them less frequently than before. Some key facts about paper checks from traditional checking accounts show just how relevant this trend is today:

  1. Payment apps have not replaced checking accounts.
  2. People of all ages still use paper checks.
  3. Most people in the U.S. wrote at least one check last year.
  4. Millions of young adults also write checks for certain expenses, just less frequently.

One thing to keep in mind is that there are different types of check fraud. While some occur online, there are also bad actors who alter paper checks to steal money the old-fashioned way. Here’s what you can do to avoid becoming victimized by either of these groups.

Most Helpful Tips for Avoiding Check Fraud

Fortunately, there are many ways to protect oneself from check fraud, and doing so may be easier and less time-consuming than you think. You just need to spend an extra minute or two each month and make a point of following these simple measures. Here are the main pieces of advice from finance experts that all check users should be following:

1. Store your checkbook in a secure location.

A drawer may not be safe enough if you ever have strangers in your home. It’s best not to make it easy for someone who might take advantage of the situation.

2. Avoid keeping blank checks on you.

A blank check can easily be turned into cash by the wrong person. Better to fill it out completely before bringing it out the door.

3. Routinely monitor your bank account and credit card statements – at least once a month.

To monitor your financial accounts, read your statements promptly and keep an eye out for any signs of suspicious purchases. The sooner you report unauthorized transactions, the better your chances are at avoiding payments on any illegitimate expenditures.

4. When writing a check, avoid leaving blank spaces.

There’s a reason we are taught to write a horizontal line following the dollar amount. That way, inaccurate information can’t be added after the fact. As a rule, fill in all of the spaces or cross them out.

5. Carefully dispose of sensitive financial information.

It’s important to keep financial account numbers and other sensitive information out of the hands of fraudsters. Periodically shred or dispose of old checking account information safely, along with your other financial documents.

6. Report any suspicious or fraudulent activity immediately.

As stated before, time is of the essence when it comes to reporting fraudulent activity. Ideally, you want to stop payment on a check before it is cashed. Staying on top of your financial accounts may also keep thieves from attempting to steal your identity or commit other types of crimes.

7. Consider using electronic wire transfers or other methods to send money.

Concerned about sending checks in the mail? Consider trying something new. Payment methods such as electronic bill payments and wire transfers provide a digital trail and are generally less susceptible to fraud. They are just two of many financial tasks that can be completed at CFSC Currency Exchanges throughout the country.

Cash All Your Checks Safely at CFSC – And Other Helpful Financial Services

There’s no reason to only use one form of payment for everything. Different payment methods bring different advantages. And when it comes to your money needs, CFSC has you covered with a broad range of financial services you can trust:

  1. Business check cashing gives small business owners quick cash when they need it.
  2. Electronic bill payment is great for ensuring your monthly bills get paid securely and on time.
  3. Money transfers are the preferred method for folks who need to get cash to loved ones in other parts of the world.
  4. Prepaid Yes! Debit™ cards provide the benefits of plastic without all the downsides.

Visit your nearest CFSC location to see what else we can do for you. We ensure that all of our convenient services protect the hard-earned money of everyone who walks through our doors.

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