Check Yourself for Check Fraud

A hand coming out of a mailbox to grab a check.

Today we can transfer money with the click of a button and make a purchase with the tap of a card. As banking technology evolves, so do financial scam tactics. So, it’s easy to assume paper checks are safe from scammers, but the truth is, paper checks aren’t fraud-proof. Keep reading for tips on how to spot check fraud — and stop it.

Common Check Fraud Tactics:

Double check your checks and keep an eye out for these common check fraud scams.

  1. Fake Checks: Scammers can create fake checks that are very convincing. Whether they’re disguised as surprise lottery winnings, a standard refund for an online purchase or anything in between, these counterfeit checks can be very tempting to deposit.

  2. Check Washing & Altered Checks: Even real checks are susceptible. Fraudsters can alter the ink on legitimate checks by changing the payee's name, the amount or the date. That way, scammers can transfer funds directly to themselves or withdraw an inflated amount from your account.

  3. Stolen Checks: Criminals often steal blank checkbooks or individual checks to make payments with stolen funds.

  4. Remote Deposit Fraud: Thieves can use stolen or counterfeit checks to deposit money through mobile banking apps or ATMs, hoping to access the cash before the fraud is detected.

Check Fraud Prevention Tips:

Now that you understand the risks, protect yourself from check fraud with these essential tips.

  1. Secure Your Checks: Keep your checkbook and individual checks in a safe and secure location, like a locked drawer or a secure home safe.

  2. Use Electronic Payments: Whenever possible, opt for electronic payments over paper checks. Electronic transactions are often more secure and leave less room for fraud.

  3. Monitor Your Account: Regularly review your bank statements and online transaction history for any suspicious activity.

  4. Be Careful with Personal Information: Avoid sharing your account information, checkbook or check details with anyone, and be cautious when paying someone new with a check.

  5. Use Secure Mail Services: When mailing checks, use certified mail or a secure courier service. Criminals sometimes steal checks from unsecured mailboxes.

  6. Enroll in Positive Pay: Protect your business from check fraud with the power to reject unauthorized transactions. This automated service lets you view the image of any check flagged by our service before deciding which items to pay or return, monitor daily incoming clearings and return fraudulent items.

  7. Be Wary of Unexpected Checks: Check with us before cashing unexpected checks. F&M Bank can verify whether or not the check is legit. 

  8. Report Suspicious Activity: If you ever suspect any fraudulent activity or come across a potential scam, please contact us immediately or visit your nearest F&M Bank office. We’re here to support you.

Remember, knowledge is your best defense against financial fraud. You can count on F&M Bank to continue to support your financial peace of mind because your financial security is our top priority.