Check Fraud And How It Can Be Prevented

The US Secret Service estimates $5 billion a year in the United States alone is the toll of check fraud. In fact, the chief of the agency’s financial crimes division calls check fraud "the number one way criminals today are attacking our financial systems."
Forgery and counterfeiting are growing at the speed of technology. Advances in color printing, scanning and copying have presented an enormous opportunity for thieves to alter and duplicate documents easily, and with a relatively small investment. Not long ago, most corporate check fraud involved stolen check stock; now the majority of cases relate to the use of electronic image processing equipment to forge, duplicate or alter documents.

How can security-enhanced documents help prevent these things from happening to you?
They’re an effective deterrent. Thieves are far more likely to pick easier targets.
Even if the security measures don’t work, they can help prove that you used "ordinary care" in protecting the check or "due diligence" in trying to prevent fraud. The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requires companies to meet these standards or be found partially liable for the loss. 
Here is a summary of warning signs to look for when you suspect a bad check
  • Check numbers do not change
  • Checks are drawn on new accounts
  • Checks smudge when rubbed with a moist fingertip
  • Checks with an inverted watermark on the paper
  • Slightly raised, rather that flat numbers
  • Checks printed on low quality paper/poor printing quality
  • Misspelled words
  • Checks contain irregular signatures, such as those with an interruption or gap where the pen has been lifted off the paper completely
  • The bank identification number in routing code does not match bank identification number in transit code 

Printerm uses these measures to prevent check fraud:

  • MICR Fonts, E-13B or CMC-7 resident in printer
  • MICR activation card
  • Disable jam recovery (duplicate check prevention on paper jam)
  • MICR font is hidden until activated in command stream
  • Toner low notification to ensure MICR print quality
  • User-selectable timeout
  • Positive Pay
  • Encryption Routine for Signatures (Available Option)
  • Password security
  • Scanned signatures and logos are printed as part of the check
  • Historical log of checks printed with all details stored
 Check Stock: 
  • Copier "VOID" Feature - Checks contain an intricate security design feature that produces a series of Voids if the checks are processed through a single or a full color copier.
  • Rainbow Prismatic Versions - The pantograph check design is printed with graduated colors. These versions are the most difficult to photocopy and include our void copier security feature.
  • ABA Check Endorsement Clause - The standard American Banking Association endorsement clause is printed on the back with a warning clause indicating the face of the check contains a colored background, a facsimile of the watermark and check pantograph background is also part of the endorsement clause.
  • Signature Area - The signature area is printed in a different pantograph background than the check . This patented use of multiple pantograph designs produces voids through different density settings on the copier. The signature area also has a warning clause that the signature has a colored background.
  • Micro Printing - The line borders on the check and the endorsement are micro printed with SAFE CHECK and padlocks and can only be seen when magnified. Micro-printing cannot be photo-copied or scanned. This security feature is also used on United States currency.
  • Watermark Certification Seal - An EPA approved watermark certification seal that cannot be photocopied is on the back of every check with appropriate warning clauses printed on the front and back of the check. The watermark also certifies that the paper meets all ANSI/ABA specifications for laser check printing . Under black light, the seal will intensify.
  • Fluorescent Fibers - Artificial yellow fluorescent fibers on the back will intensify under black light.
  • Security Guard Void Feature Pantograph: The check background contains an intricate design pattern that reveals the word "Void" if attempts are made to copy this check on most color copiers or scanners that are in use today.
  • Warning Endorsement Feature: The standard endorsement on the back of the check alerts the receiver to check for the security features contained in this check to identify it as an original check. Plus, the endorsement lines are micro-printed with the words
  • Warning Band Borders: The warning band message in the border of the check, alerts the receiver of the document to check for the Security Guard Program™ features contained in the check.

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