10 Check Fraud Tips
Check fraud is a terrible problem no one wants to have to deal with, and these ten check fraud tips can help ensure that you don't have to ever go through the challenging and nerve-wracking problem. Especially in these tough economic times, keeping a close eye on your money is as important as ever, and it's even more important to prevent fraud, which can cause even more financial problems.
- Keep your account information secure and private. Don't give out your information to people you don't know, especially over the computer or phone. If someone calls and asks for the information and you don't know the company name, check it out first.
- Set aside the checks and account information you need, and destroy the rest. Be sure not to just throw them in the trash can. Shred them, black out the information, or tear them up. These things often have valuable information on them and could come back to haunt you.
- Check your account statements as soon as you get them. Often banks have a policy that they will assist you with check fraud or that you are not liable for fraud within a certain amount of time (often a month.) If you wait too long to check and file a claim, you risk losing this support and are held responsible for the charges.
- Be smart! Don't leave your wallet and checkbook in your car or lying around in a public place. Even if you think it will be safe, it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to check fraud.
- Keep track of checks. Make sure you know where each number went. If your checkbook is stolen or your possessions are otherwise burgled, check your checks to see what numbers are gone, if any. Thieves are smart, and some will take only a couple of checks so that you won't notice.
- Stay private. Keep your valuable information to yourself! Do not ever put your social security number on your checks. Be cautious if you decide to put your driver's license or phone number on your checks, because these could potentially be used to commit fraud.
- Don't fill out checks payable to "Cash." Although perhaps easier for you, it's also easier if your check is stolen for anyone to cash it, and then obtain your account information.
- Don't endorse immediately. Wait until you are ready to cash a check before endorsing it. Otherwise you could lose it and the check or its information could be used.
- Fill in the lines. Don't leave blank spaces on the amount and "To" areas on your check. Draw lines through the empty space so someone cannot alter the amount or change the name.
- Use common sense! Thieves are often trying to take advantage of people assuming their checks won't be stolen. Start thinking of safety and security and you'll be able to outsmart them in case anything ever happens. Be prepared for an emergency, and you'll be able to breathe easier if one does happen.