Financial Tips

Protect Yourself from Check Fraud

Do you send paper checks through the mail? Do you know how to protect yourself against check fraud?

When you put a paper check in your mailbox or drop it in a postal dropbox, it’s very easy for thieves to steal your check. They use chemicals to remove the ink, then change the payee name and amount to whatever they want.

Sometimes they take it a step further and sell your information online.

So how can you protect yourself?

Whenever possible, use online payment services instead of mailing paper checks. Online payments are simple and secure and eliminate the risk of your check being stolen from a mailbox.

If online payments aren’t an option, there are some steps you can take to protect your paper check.

  1. Write your check with a black gel pen. Black ink is more difficult to remove than blue, and the gel ink soaks into the fibers of your check, making it much more difficult to bleach away.
  2. When you mail your check, put it in your mailbox right before your mail carrier arrives. If you mail it from a blue post office box, drop it off right before collection, so it doesn’t sit in the box for long periods of time. Better yet, take it directly to the post office and give it to an employee.
  3. Keep track of the checks you’ve written, and check your online banking or monthly statements to watch for when they clear. Make sure the amount matches what you originally wrote, and if your account offers check images, check to see that the payee hasn’t been changed.
If you see a problem, contact your bank immediately, so we can help get it resolved. Check out more of our financial security advice to learn how to can stay financially protected.

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