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Check Fraud

Despite the decline in the use of checks, the amount of check fraud has increased in recent years in the United States. Check fraud can involve writing bad checks, stealing and altering checks or forging checks. It is important when writing or receiving checks to carefully monitor your checking account and to be aware of possible check fraud.

One common method of check fraud is when a check is stolen from a USPS box, carrier or mailbox and then the fraudster alters the check by erasing the amount and the payee — the recipient of the check. The fraudster then writes in a new amount and addresses the check to themselves.

Another common method of check fraud is known as paper hanging. Paper hanging is when the fraudster intentionally writes a bad check and takes advantage of the time it takes for the check to clear. The fraudster will receive the product or service they paid for but then they will put a stop-pay on the check or the check itself will bounce.

Be mindful when writing or cashing checks to monitor your account. When writing a check, look at your account within a 24-hour period to make sure the check is deposited by the correct recipient. It is important to verify that the endorsement is the person who you wrote the check to. The person writing the check is responsible for up to 30 days to make sure the check is endorsed by the correct person. When receiving a check, make sure the check clears and the funds are available before wiring funds. This process can take up to two weeks.

If you feel you have been victimized by a fraud attempt, contact our Customer Care Center immediately at (800) 447-2265.