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Checking for Fraud

from Plapp Insurance Services

Jan 08, 2015

Check manufacturers have been taking measures to make it harder for people to copy, alter or counterfeit these instruments of payment. The National Check Fraud Center says among those security features are:

Watermarks and special inks that react with certain solvents when a forger tries to modify the dollar amount or designated payee on the check.

High-resolution micro-printing that looks like a line or pattern to the naked eye. In reality, the border or line is a series of words, making it difficult to scan, photocopy or otherwise duplicate the item perfectly.

Businesses can take additional precautions to make it hard for criminals to cash in. If you accept checks for payment of merchandise or services, watch for signs of potentially bad checks. Keep in mind these indicators are not absolutes; legitimate checks also may have some of the same characteristics:

  • Check number is missing
  • Check number is low (under 101 on personal checks and 1001 on business checks)
  • Check lacks perforation common to pads of checks
  • Check does not have customer's address
  • Check does not show financial institution's address
  • Stains appear on the check, indicating possible erasures or alterations to the information
The Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) number along the bottom of the check does not match the check number, is shiny instead of dull or is missing. Additional check fraud information can be found at www.ckfraud.org.

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