Good sense can prevent check fraud

Published 11:31 am Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Check fraud occurs all too often and extends all over the country, from the metropolitan areas to the smallest rural villages.

It costs society millions of dollars each year.

Although check fraud can take any number of forms, the most common type occurs when a criminal either steals or finds a checkbook or collects enough information about a bank account to create a counterfeit check.

Unfortunately, you may not discover the problem until you get surprising news that your checking account is overdrawn.

Or you may get an urgent call from someone who accepted a counterfeit check with your name on it, demanding you make good on the payment.

This can blemish your credit, cause you to have to pay extra fees, and create personal embarrassment.

How can you prevent such activity from occurring?

Look at some common sense measures you might take.

At home, keep your supply of blank checks in a closed drawer, in a safe, or in some other secure location.

Do not keep your checkbook on your kitchen counter or other open areas where it can easily be seen by others.

When you go shopping, it is a good idea to carry only as many checks as you expect to use, and you should keep them in your possession at all times.

Pre-print as little personal information on your checks as possible.

Remember never to have your Social Security number or driver’s license number printed on your checks.

Finally, it is important that you review your bank statement as soon as possible after you receive it.

You should immediately report any unauthorized transactions.

It is important that you act quickly when it comes to check fraud, because if you are not paying attention to your account and fraudulent checks keep getting through, it is possible that you, not the bank, may be held liable for the losses.