3 min read

Fraudulent Checks? Who Writes Checks Anymore?

Fraudulent Checks? Who Writes Checks Anymore?

For many of us as individuals, writing checks is mostly a thing of the past. But for businesses, checks are still very common. And, unfortunately, counterfeiting continues to be a common practice for criminals to steal from businesses. It is estimated that fraudsters run about $7 billion worth of checks annually world-wide, and that number is only slated to get larger.

While consumers don’t necessarily write a lot of checks, it doesn’t mean that a fraudster won’t attempt to scam you out of thousands of dollars using those checks that are impacting businesses. Fraudulent checks are passed through a wide variety of sources, such as Craigslist, job postings, online lotteries, auction websites, dating websites, and much more. The fraudster’s final goal is to come out on top and do whatever it takes to take advantage of the person on the other end.

pull quote: It is estimated that fraudsters run about $7 billion worth of checks annually world-wide, and that number is only slated to get larger.

Tips to Prevent Fraudulent Check Scams

Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the check. Fraudsters are using sophisticated technology to create counterfeit checks that mirror the appearance of legitimate checks. There is a wide variety of types of checks, counterfeit money orders, cashier’s checks, and others that look like they are from legitimate business accounts. The companies whose names appear may be real, but fraudsters are creating these checks without their knowledge.

There are a multitude of red flags on a physical fraudulent check, but here are some general things to look for:

  • Typos in names of the payer, payee, bank, dollar amounts, etc.
  • Out of state payers and out of state banks
  • Bank logos are either missing or are faded
  • Amount is usually under $5,000 (but could be any amount)
  • Notations in the memo-line suggesting legitimacy (cash, authorization, void after 30 days, payment, etc.)

Even if the check has “cleared,” you may not be in the clear. Under federal law, banks must make deposited funds available quickly, but just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good, even if it’s a cashier’s check or money order. If you have any questions about whether or not the check is good, talk to your banker. Be sure to explain the source of the check, the reasons it was sent to you, and whether you are being asked to wire money back.

Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately. If you suspect someone is trying to pull a fraudulent check scam, bring it to the attention of a Bankers Trust staff member. Provide as much information as possible regarding your situation.

Next steps:

  1. Learn more about maintaining your financial security.
  2. Subscribe to receive Bankers Trust Education Center articles in your inbox.
  3. Contact me if you believe your checks have been compromised.
Edin Hadzic, CBAO, CBSM, CAMS

Edin Hadzic, CBAO, CBSM, CAMS

Financial Intelligence Officer (515) 222-2016 Email Edin

Edin Hadzic is a Compliance and Information Security Officer at Bankers Trust. In previous roles with the bank, Edin has worked in the retail space as a Teller at the North Branch and as an Electronic Banking Analyst in the Electronic Banking Department. His responsibilities include Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Anti-Money Laundering Compliance and fraud monitoring. Edin is a Certified Bank Security Manager (CBSM), Certified BSA-AML Officer, holds a CAMS certification (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist), and was designated as the Bank’s OFAC Officer in the summer of 2017. Edin is a graduate of Grand View University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems and Business Administration. In his spare time, Edin enjoys watching football (Go Hawks!, Go Eagles!) and fishing during the summer time.   CBSM certification is specially designed to benefit any professional working with Information Technology and Information Security who has a direct responsibility for information.    CBAO certification signifies being a BSA AML Officer. This certification is put on by Lexis Nexis and it covers the following: Bank Secrecy Act, USA Patriot Act, Anti-Money Laundering Requirements, OFAC Requirements.   The CAMS credential is the gold standard in anti-money laundering certifications and recognized internationally by financial institutions, governments and regulators.

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