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How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 3): Outsmart With Check Security

Check Fraud Security Checks We’ve gotten great feedback on our recent webinar “The Five Most Important Ways to Protect Your Business Against Check Fraud,” so we wanted to make our tips available in bite-sized portions you can digest at your leisure. We’ve put together a five-part series using clips from our webinar to help you fight fraud and protect your business.

Click the video to watch our third tip or read the transcript below. Don't forget to check out part one, part two, part four and part five. Contact Relyco with any questions.

How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 3): Outsmart With Check Security

To comply with the ANSI standard for check processing security, all checks must have at least three security features and at least one security feature must cover each of these four areas: overt, covert anti-alteration, or anti-copy. Relyco has 17 security features that meet this need.


Keith Zub: We talked about Frank, and what a criminal he was. And we talked about, you know, covert and overt security features. And so now what we want to do is we want to explain what those are. Because, you know, you and I have been doing this for a little bit… [chuckles]

Joni van Gelder: And, well, it’s overt to us!

Keith: Right. So, let’s explain to the audience what we’re talking about.

Joni: Sure!

Keith: And then we’ll actually physically look at the face of a check and the back of a check.

Joni: Okay. If you have a security feature that’s an overt security feature, what that means is that it’s visible to the naked eye. And we’ll show you an example of that in the coming slide.

If you have a covert security feature, that means that you can’t see it with the naked eye; so you would either need a magnifying glass, or a black light, or something to bring out that security feature.

And anti-alteration security feature means, typically, that the paper has been treated in some way, like with toner adhesion, so that if someone tries to alter it in some way, it becomes very obvious that it’s been altered.

And anti-copy feature is a void pantograph: something that, when you try to make a copy, something will show up on the scanned copy so that you no it’s not an original document.

Keith: And the void is the most famous one that there is out there.

Joni: The void is the most famous one, but it’s actually one of the easiest ones to beat because, with laser printer security features being much more sophisticated than they were five or six years ago, you can adjust your resolution and you can get around it very easily.

Keith: Which is why we talked about blending all of these together to make sure you have a secure document.

Joni: Yup!

Keith: So now we’re going to look at the face of a check. So, how ‘bout if I test you on here?

Joni: Sure!

Keith: Which is which. That would be good.

Joni: Not a problem!

Keith: OK, micro perforation. And that’s just allowing for an easy tear, so that’s not a security feature. But we have Securatek™ Copy Prevention Technology. And that makes the reproduction of protected documents virtually impossible on a digital color copier.

Joni: So that would be an anti-copy security feature. You would not be able to do that.

Keith: Yup! Thermochromic. You put your thumb on it, and it disappears.

Joni: You know, that’s a tough one because, I mean, there is an image printed on the check that is done with thermochromic ink. Thermochromic is a heat-sensitive ink. So you can see the image, so in that respect it’s overt; but really the security feature is a covert one because you have to either rub it or breathe on it to change the temperature to make it work.

Keith: You studied for this test.

Joni: I did! I have cliffs notes.

Keith: And void-less postal window. I mean, that’s a feature of the check. And we talk about our compliance with the ANSI and that’s to keep compliance with that.

And microprinting. That’s too small for a photocopier. So if someone’s going to copy it, that would be.

Joni: That would be covert.

Keith: You gonna get these all right again?

Joni: Can I have a gold star?

Keith: Sure! Ah, warning band: alerts tellers or check recipient to see the presence of certain security features.

Joni: And that’s an overt feature.

Keith: Image friendly, again, check-compliant, Check 21. That’s a feature on the check, but it’s not a security feature. Padlock security.

Joni: That would be overt.

Keith: Yes. And, I remember at the beginning we talked about that clear band on the bottom. And we have to make sure that you have that 5/8 clear band on the bottom.

Joni: And that there’s nothing in there. There's no color, no pantograph, nothing that will interrupt the scanning of the check when the bank goes to process it. And one thing that I should have mentioned is that, typically a bank will say that you need a minimum of three security features in order to achieve what they would call due diligence for check security. And our stock checks, using that as an example, have anywhere from 11 to as many as 18 security features. So we really load it up because we think that more in this case is better.

Keith: MmmHmm. And now we’ll go to the back of the check.

Joni: OK! Keith: Um, endorsement warning, on the back. Joni: That would be an overt feature.

Keith: And microprinting, which we have on the back and on the front and we already mentioned that.

Joni: Yup! Keith: Um, copy-void.

Joni: Same as on the front. That’s considered to be a covert feature. Because you have to do something in order to engage it.

Keith: Simulated watermark… that’s an easy one, because it says the feature is visible when viewed at a 45 degree angle. But again, that’s one of those tricky ones because if you don’t look the right way at it, you don’t see it.

Joni: Right. If you're looking at it straight on, you don’t know it’s there.

Keith: And anti-splice backer. That’s an overt feature, because if somebody was to clip the check to try and change something in there, they wouldn’t be able to match the back.

Joni: Yeah, sometimes people will try and cut up a few different checks to make a new one. And that is one of the features that makes that very difficult.

Keith: So, having said that, I think we’re ready to head on to the next slide!  

To learn more about AP solutions from RELYCO, call 800.777.7359 or email

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