written for Grand Savings Bank blog
How to Avoid Check Fraud
For Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we want everyone to ensure they are safe online. And we figured, while we’re at it, let’s highlight some other measures you can take to make sure you are banking safely — both online and off.
Check fraud is as old as the check itself, and, unfortunately, it is on the rise again. You can follow a few easy steps to protect yourself against check fraud, and keep yourself safe by staying aware of these criminals’ common tricks.
Minimize Your Risk at the Mailbox
The most common way criminals commit check fraud is by stealing mail, either out of individuals’ mailboxes or by using stolen keys to open the big blue boxes.
So the easiest way to keep your checks out of a criminal’s hands? Don’t put checks in the mail. Now with digital payment tools — like the ones you can find on the Grand Savings Bank customer portal or in the GSB app — there are other ways to move money that you can explore.
If you must mail a check, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service recommends you put it in the mailbox close to pick-up time or use the box inside your local post office. On the other end, make sure you are promptly picking up your mail from your mailbox.
Watch Out for Fake Check Schemes
Criminals use fake cashier’s checks as another common way to trick people. The scammer wants you to cash or deposit the counterfeit check and then send back legitimate money before the bank identifies the check as fake.
The scammers pull it off by telling a range of false stories:
- They could say you won the lottery or an inheritance, but you need to pay fees to claim your money.
- They could use the fake check to overpay you for an item off an online auction site and then ask you to send back the difference.
- They could offer a cashier’s check as an employment starting bonus but ask you to pay the cost of account activation.
If you think you have been the victim of mail theft or a fake check scam, report it through the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or the consumer protection services of your state’s Attorney General’s Office. By simply being aware of these criminal methods, you can help protect yourself against check fraud.
Keep an eye out for more tips this month as we learn more about how to #BankSafe with Grand Savings Bank.