Why it’s important to use Secure Checks:
As someone who formerly worked as a Bank Manager, I know first hand the importance of using safe and secure checks. The average customer doesn’t realize that bank tellers ARE trained to check for and recognize authentic checks from fraudulent ones. Yes, sometimes they miss things, and people do commit fraud with secure checks, but by purchasing checks with security features, you are getting extra protection. I know most people use their debit cards, or online payments in today’s times, but there are occasions when you need to negotiate checks. It’s crucial that you take precautions when ordering and negotiating checks to protect yourself against fraud and stolen identity situations. Let me explain what a few key protections are, to help you understand why it’s important to use secure checks:
- Secure Checks are made on paper that is reactive to many different types of chemicals. This is important because crooks can take checks written on unsecured checks and wash away the ink, then re-write the checks to themselves in the amount of their choosing – and it will still have YOUR signature on it. You want checks printed on paper that won’t allow this to happen.
- You want to order checks from a company that verifies your mailing address and account information with your bank before printing and mailing the checks. Ordering through your bank is always the most secure method, though it can be more expensive. There ARE reputable 3rd party companies, but it is important to research the company before you order to make sure they are secure and reputable.
- When you re-order checks – make sure you pay extra for tracking – or at the very least, watch for them daily until they arrive – know the estimated time of arrival. If they don’t arrive, it’s critical you notify your bank. Sometimes they will just stop payment on that series of check numbers to prevent those checks from being negotiated if stolen, other times, you will need to open a new account with a new number.
- Look for a padlock icon for reassurance that the checks are in compliance with Payment System Guidelines – you don’t want issues with legitimate checks not properly clearing the system.
- Check for the MP Signature Line on the front of the check and a protection for the back of the check as well to ensure that your checks will shows signs of photocopy. *Note: Sometimes YOU need a copy of your check for verification reasons after it has cleared. What you are trying to prevent is someone else photocopying and reusing the check. It needs to say VOID, COPY, or some other identifying mark on copies.
- Finally, I encourage everyone to use their bank’s online system daily to keep an eye on their account. At the first sign of unauthorized activity, notify your bank. The sooner you can shut down unauthorized activity, the better. You will need to visit your bank to sign affidavits when unauthorized transactions occur, so they can start the process of retrieving your money. If you delay, crooks can clean out your account, leaving you with overdrawn balances, fees, and returned checks to deal with.