Of course you hope a fraudulent check never crosses your desk. But do you know all the signs that should send your radar up?
Quick: Name as many signs a check is suspicious as you can think of. Then compare your list to this one issued by The National Check Fraud Center:
- The check lacks perforations.
- The check number is either missing or does not change.
- The check number is low (e.g., 1001 up to 1500 on business checks and 101 up to 400 on personal checks). Scary stat: 90% of bad checks are written on accounts less than one-year old.
- The type of font used to print the customer’s name looks visibly different from the font used to print the address.
- Additions to the check, such as phone numbers, have been written by hand.
- The customer’s address is missing.
- The bank’s address is missing.
- Stains or discolorations are visible on the check that could possibly be caused by erasures or alterations.
- The Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) coding is shiny. Real magnetic ink is dull and non glossy in appearance.
- The MICR encoding at the bottom of the check doesn’t match the check number.
- The MICR numbers are missing.
- The MICR coding does not match the bank district and the routing symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the check.
- The name of the payee appears to have been printed by a typewriter. Most payroll, expenses, and dividend checks are printed via computer.
- The word VOID appears across the check.
- Notations appear in the memo section listing “load,” “payroll,” or “dividends.” Most legitimate companies have separate accounts for these functions, eliminating a need for such notations.
- The check has no authorized signature.
So how’d you do? Which did you miss? Did we miss any warning signs? Tell us here.