While it is sometimes very difficult to identify a fraudulent check, there are things you can look for.
Below are several signs that may indicate a bad check. While one sign on its own does not guarantee a check to be counterfeit, the greater the number of signs, the greater the possibility that the check is bad.
- The check lacks perforations
- The check number is either missing or does not change
- The check number is low (like 101 up to 400) on personal checks or (like 1001 up to 1500) on business checks. (90% of bad checks are written on accounts less than one-year-old)
- The type of font used to print the customer’s name looks visibly different from the font used to print the address
- Additions to the check (i.e. phone numbers) have been written by hand
- The customer’s address is missing
- The address of the bank is missing
- There are stains or discolorations on the check possibly caused by erasures or alterations
- The numbers printed along the bottoms of the check (called Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, or MICR, coding) is shiny. Real magnetic ink is dull and nonglossy in appearance
- The MICR encoding at the bottom of the check does not match the check number
- The MICR numbers are missing
- The MICR coding does not match the bank district and the routing symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the check
- The name of the payee appears to have been printed by a typewriter. Most payroll, expenses, and dividend checks are printed via computer
- The word VOID appears across the check
- Notations appear in the memo section listing “load,” “payroll,” or “dividends.” Most legitimate companies have separate accounts for these functions, eliminating a need for such notations
- The check lacks an authorized signature
Relyco has helped thousands of companies with check security for more than 22 years. The company’s continuing research into fraud prevention strategies and new form technologies, as well as its membership in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ASC X9AB* check processing committee; keep Relyco ahead as an innovative leader.