Check fraud is on the increase. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, more than 1.2 million fraudulent checks are written every day - more than 13 per second.
The single biggest mistake that consumers make with regard to check fraud is thinking that it could not happen to them. New laws place consumers at greater risk for bearing the responsibility of check fraud perpetrated against them if they fail to report the fraud within 30 days.
Common Sense Practices
It all adds up to the importance of paying attention to a number of common sense practices:
Since most check fraud starts with the theft of a check, keep your checks as safe as possible, with your excess supply stored in a secure place. Don’t leave a blank space when writing out dollar amounts.
Avoid using abbreviations. IRS, for example, can easily be changed to MRS.
Pick up checks from your mailbox promptly and protect your deposit slips. A common scam involves con artists who deposit worthless checks into your account, getting some of the “deposit” back as cash.
Review all cancelled checks to be sure that they have not been altered. Report any irregularities promptly.
If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, please contact your local law enforcement office.