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December 2, 2009 > Protect yourself from check fraud

Protect yourself from check fraud

Courtesy of Milpitas City Website

Each year banks and financial institutions process over 61 billion checks. With computers, desktop publishing and software personal, business checks have been very easy to reproduce, or create. Check fraud is everyone's problem. Banks face an increasingly difficult task of separating good checks from the fraudulent ones. They are concerned about saving the assets of their customers and of the banks, while at the same time providing quality and personalized service to the customers. In many cases, consumers have no legal liability for check fraud against them, but being the victim of such a fraud can create big problems until the situation is sorted out and accounts are returned to where they should be.

Some of the things that you can do to protect yourself include:

Protect your account numbers from people you don't know - even if they claim they are from a bank.
Reveal your checking account information only to businesses you know to be reputable.
Report lost or stolen checks immediately.
Report any suspicious inquiries to your banker.
Properly store, or dispose of, canceled checks and guard new checks. There is a lot of fraudulent checking activity resulting from checks that are stolen from the mail.
Do not leave your ATM receipt at the ATM, it contains account information.
Review your banking statements and immediately report any irregularity.


Businesses have additional vulnerabilities. Many businesses fall victim to financial crimes, check fraud and embezzlement as a result of some lax internal procedures. Some of the practices that could be in place to aid in protecting business assets include:

Know your employees.
Conduct surprise audits.
Keep check stock in a secure area.
Enforce mandatory vacation policies, particularly for those with financial access.
Read and understand your bank contracts regarding liability, and your company's liability for fraud.
If your account is compromised, report the matter to your bank and close the account immediately.


If you are suspicious of some activity and are uncertain if the nature of activity is criminal in nature, do not hesitate to call the investigator who specializes in fraud investigations. Call (408) 586-2400 and ask for the financial crimes investigator. This investigator usually works weekdays between
8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Milpitas Police Department
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. - 11 p.m.
1275 North Milpitas Blvd., Milpitas
(408) 586-2400

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