Check Fraud

What It Is
Check fraud is a criminal act which involves the unlawful use of checks to illegally acquire or borrow funds that do not exist within the account balance or account-holder's legal ownership.

How It Happens
Checks that are lost, stolen, or counterfeited provide unlimited possibilities for a forger. In some cases it may take weeks before a loss is discovered. Checks may be stolen before you receive them (from your mailbox) or may be a check you are mailing out from your home mailbox. Checks may be counterfeited with information from your checking statement or canceled checks. Debit cards are considered “safer” because in the case of loss or fraud, they can be turned off completely, whereas checks can be printed and cause continued problems.

How to Avoid It
  • A locking mailbox insert may be purchased at home improvement stores or replacement locking mailboxes are available online.
  • Always keep blank checks in a safe place.
  • Bank statements and canceled checks should be safeguarded.
  • Get a P.O. box or mailbox rental.
  • If possible, keep your mailbox locked.
  • Reconcile your account statements quickly and report any discrepancies immediately.
  • Report lost or stolen checks immediately.