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Every year, check fraud in which a business’s own checks are used costs businesses and financial institutions billions of dollars. The way it works is pretty simple: Criminals alter an existing check or create a counterfeit check using stolen or illegally purchased account information from a business. With today’s software and personal printers, it can be easy for a scammer to reproduce a company check. They can then attempt to cash the checks, make purchases, or conduct transactions.
A 2016 Payments and Fraud Control Survey conducted by the Association for Financial Professionals found that 73 percent of companies reported they were victims of payment fraud, with the majority falling victim to check fraud.
Businesses are often the targets of check fraud scammers, and any one business can lose thousands of dollars to these crimes. Businesses that are successfully hit once are often targeted again, so it’s particularly important for past victims to take preventive measures in an effort to protect their bottom line (although everyone should).
These security measures will help ensure your company checks are counterfeit resistant. Many check printing services and banks offer some or all of these as options.
Also ask if your financial institution uses automated check fraud detection tools that match account numbers, check numbers, and verify dollar amounts so they can notify you if a questionable check comes through their system.
At the point of sale, it’s important for businesses to train their employees about the following signs of a possibly counterfeit check:
The bigger a business gets, the more likely it is to face check fraud situations, but any business can be a target. Take the necessary prevention steps and provide employees the training they need to know what to look for.
Sean Spence is the regional director of Better Business Bureau Columbia.