Check fraud describes a number of activities including, but not limited to, counterfeiting, and forgery.
You can help prevent check fraud by following these tips.
- Since most check fraud starts with the theft of a check, you should keep your checks as safe as possible.
- Reconcile your bank statements as soon as you receive them so you are aware of all account activity.
- Do not write your PIN number on your debit or ATM card or anywhere in your wallet or checkbook for a thief to find.
- Shred old checks and bank statements before you throw them away.
- Fill in the payee line and amount line completely on any checks you write. Do not leave blank spaces that someone can alter.
- Do not provide your bank information over the telephone unless you are certain who is receiving it and why.
- Do not place outgoing mail in an unlocked box. Install a lock on your mailbox. You can cut a slit in the mailbox large enough to slide mail through but not large enough to fit a hand through.
If you are a victim of check fraud, it is in your best interest to immediately contact the following parties:
- Your financial institution. Report the fraudulent activity and ask them to advise you on what steps to take next. For example, should you close the account, put a stop payment on all checks other than ones you know you wrote, whom else should you notify, and so forth.
- Your local law enforcement office. Give them the necessary information and answer all their questions in detail and request that a police report be filed.
- Check service companies. These companies gather information on returned checks and report that information to their customers. Report to these companies that you are the victim of fraud ask what other information you might need to provide.
- Credit bureaus. Notify them of the fraudulent activity and ask what other information you need to provide. Select the following link for credit bureau contact information.
- Chex Systems, Inc. You can contact ChexSystems to order a copy of your consumer report, dispute any information you believe may be inaccurate or incomplete, and/or place a Consumer Reported Identity Theft Security Alert on your file.