Paper checks have been utilized since the early 1700s. They’re a way to help transfer money from your bank account without actually have to carry the money around. However, like with most things involving money, there are always people looking to steal it. If you’re afraid of being a victim of paper check fraud, here are some helpful tips that can drastically reduce your risk.
Keep Your Checks In Safe Storage
Your blank checkbook is an easy target for any fraudster. You should ensure that your checkbook remains out of sight and is kept in a safe place when you’re not using it. Alongside storing your blank checks safely, you should keep your bank statements and canceled checks in a safe place as well. These documents have sensitive data like your account number on them that can allow a fraudster to get access to your money.
Be Mindful When Ordering New Checks
Most banks don’t hand out checkbooks anymore. Rather, you order them online or through your bank and they get delivered to your home. Many of these checkbooks come in the same type of packaging that is easily identifiable to a thief. Therefore, you should be mindful when ordering new checks. See if the company sending them can require a signature upon delivery so that you have to be present to get them. Take note of when their expected delivery date is and contact the manufacturer if you don’t get them by the expected delivery date.
Always Fill Out Each Line On The Check
You must always ensure that you don’t leave any lines blank on your check. Sometimes you may run into a situation where you don’t know who to make the check out to or you don’t know exactly what the amount will be. In this case, it may be tempting to just hand over the check to an attendant and have them fill it in. While you may trust the person that you’re handing the check to, you must always consider the possibility that they may accidentally lose it or another handler after them could commit fraud. Therefore, you should always take the time to fill out each line before handing over a check. If you’re missing information, simply get it before handing over the check. It’s that simple and will drastically reduce your risk of check fraud.
Keep Track Of Each Check Number Closely
All of your checks will be numbered for easy reference. Most banks start you off with check number 100 and continue from there. As you write out each check, you should be verifying the check number on the top. If you find that you’re missing a particular check number, you should contact your financial institution immediately. They can put a stop order on that specific check number so that the person trying to utilize it can’t get any money from your account.
Transfer Money Another Way
Many companies will accept debit cards and electronic fund transfers to pay your outstanding bill. This can eliminate the need for using traditional paper checks to pay for your expenses. The simple fact is that when you don’t have to use paper checks, there’s no possibility of fraud.
Setup Active Alerts With Your Bank
One great way to help curb check fraud from the very start is to get alerts from your bank. These alerts should tell you if a large sum of money was just transferred or a check was cashed. Depending on the bank that you utilize, they may have different types of active alerts that you can opt into using. These can alert you when there is a problem so that you can respond to your bank quickly to remedy the issue.
Check fraud is a problem that costs about $13 billion dollars a year. It’s likely that you don’t want your hard-earned money to be included in this amount of stolen funds. Therefore, you should employ the tips that were outlined above. They’ll greatly help to reduce your risk of undergoing check fraud in the future.