Is your company protected from check fraud? Last year, check fraud losses exceeded $2.2 billion. Peoples State Bank offers Positive Pay services as the most effective way to detect check fraud and minimize monetary losses. Positive Pay safeguards your check writing accounts. Here are five tips to help you stay ahead of check fraudsters.
- Altered Checks – Fraudsters will take advantage of areas of a check that are left with blank spaces. Example: adding extra zeros in the numeric amount field. To prevent this, try completely filling out all fields on your checks, leaving no room to forge. This includes the written line, too.
- Counterfeit Checks – With technology such as Photoshop and desktop publishing, fraudsters have easy access to designing and printing their own illegal checks. They have even copied signatures and logos from legitimate businesses. Train your staff to inspect each incoming check that passes through your doors. Looking for low-quality paper, faint “void” watermarks, or various fonts on a single check can help prevent you from accepting a counterfeit check. If a check doesn’t look or feel right, it may be fraudulent.
- Identity Theft – Identify theft is when someone assumes the identity of someone else. This includes forging their signature on legal documents, such as checks. To help prevent this, make sure to keep your financial information in a secure location and that you, and your staff, are shredding personal documents that obtain bank information, social security information, birthdates, and more.
- Account Takeover – Account fraud is when someone writes checks from a closed account, taking advantage of the time between the check being written and when it is processed. To help prevent this, make sure to contact your bank about unused accounts, destroy any unused checks, and make sure to monitor your statements and online banking regularly.
- Internal Fraud – Employees will commit check fraud by issuing unauthorized company checks, altering paychecks, or altering pay slips. To help prevent internal check fraud, you should put internal controls in place. This would include implementing a system of checks and balances such as making sure payroll and payouts are handled by separate people in a dual control set-up.
Check fraud is a serious crime and has become more commonplace throughout the banking industry over the last few years. Utilizing these preventive measures and discussing your check writing needs with your Treasury Management banker can help to better protect your business. Businesses are responsible for detecting and preventing check fraud.
Peoples State Bank’s Positive Pay fraud protection program is one way to help protect your business accounts from check fraud.