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Consumer Tips

Check Fraud

Check fraud has been around a long time, but recently the numbers have climbed drastically. The National Check Fraud Center in Charleston, S.C., estimates that more than $6 billion worth of forged and altered checks were cashed last year in the United States. Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing your next check:

  • Always print out the full name of the payee. For example, instead of "Co." write out "Company" and write out "Thomas Johnson" for "T. Johnson."

  • Never use ordinary longhand when writing the amount. Print the amount instead. A printed amount is much more difficult for a forger to change or alter.

  • Begin writing the amount at the extreme left and fill in all the spaces with double lines so that nothing can be added.

  • Rather than abbreviating, print out the full month. For example, write "September 23rd," not "9/23."

  • Put the numerical amount as close to the dollar sign as possible. Do not leave space between any amount especially before the decimal point.

  • Do not use an erasable pen, felt-tip pen, or pencil when making out a check.

  • An illegible signature can easily be forged. Make your signature clear and readable.

  • Take your time when writing your checks. Remember if your check has been forged or altered due to a carelessly written check, the law holds YOU responsible.

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