The use of paper checks as legal tender is declining. However, US News and World Report recommends that you write checks sparingly since the rise of fraudulent checks is increasing. Besides with mobile technology, check writing may someday be obsolete but for now, watch out.
Limit the Use of Check Writing
Simply put, don’t use checks; a better option is a debit card. Why? Think of the last time you wrote a check to Walmart or Target. If you don’t get your check back, you’re giving away your name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, and bank account and routing number making you a target for theft identity.
Avoid Mailing Checks
Don’t send money by check to anyone you don’t know, ever. However, if you have a loved one overseas, send money online through a reputable transfer company using the Internet. The money is then subtracted from your financial institution account and lodged into the receiver’s account. This method may take a few days to arrive; however, transferring money as a debit card takes only minutes with companies like RIA Financial Services. Look for a longterm worldwide company. This one sends an electronic email confirmation when the receiver has the money in his or her account. It's a secure, safe way to send money online.
Sidestep Check Fraud
If you believe you’re a victim of fraud, contact your local police and the Federal Trade Commission. The government recommends reading its publications on check fraud. Thieves today change or alter checks easily. The printers of today are high-tech. Printing counterfeit checks is fast and easy and goes unnoticed. Check fraud costs Americans and banking institutions billions of dollars a year and today, companies are more responsible than banks. Eliminate check fraud by using secure checks with watermarks, foil holograms, or heat censored logos. This style isn’t easy to duplicate like the old green checks.
The FDIC states you can do some of the following. When ordering checks, if they don’t come in a week or so, contact the sender. Mail bills at the Post Office; don’t entrust them in your mailbox for pickup. Never write your social security number on a check. Shred cancelled checks; in fact, get your check statements online. Write BIG. Never leave a lot of space near the name or amount. Treat checks like cash. Never leaving them in your car or on your desk.
Recognize the Warning Signs
If someone gives you a check to cash for more than owed and wants the balance wired into another account, beware. If you get a telemarketing call asking for money, beware. If you’re given notice of winning the sweepstakes or lottery, beware. If the check you received looks worn or faded, don’t deposit it.
Never give out your checking account or routing number to an unsolicited caller. Reconcile your bank statement as soon as you get it; most banks only give you 30 days to report a discrepancy. Finally, remember fraudulent checks are big business, don’t let your guard down.