Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Check Fraud: A Guide to Avoiding Losses
Banks must emphasize to all tellers the importance of being alert to check fraud. One way to focus on preventing check fraud is to include a separate section on it in teller manuals. That section can emphasize typical check fraud schemes and warning signs. Some common warning signs include:
- a check that does not have a MICR line at the bottom.
- a routing code in the MICR line that does not match the address of the drawee bank.
- MICR ink that looks shiny or that feels raised. Magnetic ink is dull and legitimate check printing produces characters that are flat on the paper.
- a check on which the name and address of the drawee bank is typed rather than printed, or that includes spelling errors.
- a check that does not have a printed drawer name and address.
- a personal check that has no perforated edge.
- a check on which information shows indications of having been altered, eradicated, or erased.
- a check drawn on a new account which has no (or a low) sequence number or a high dollar amount.
- a signature that is irregular-looking or shaky, or shows gaps in odd spots.
- a check printed on poor quality paper that feels slippery.
- check colors that smear when rubbed with a moist finger. (This suggests they were prepared on a color copier.)
- checks payable to a corporation that are presented for cashing by an individual. Banks should require that checks payable to a corporation be deposited into the corporation account for later disbursal by corporate check.
- corporate or government checks which show numbers that do not match in print style or otherwise suggest that the amount may have been increased.
- checks presented at busy times by belligerent or distracting, fast-talking customers who try to bypass procedures.
- checks which have dollar amounts in numbers and in words that do not match.
- items that are marked "void" or "nonnegotiable," yet are presented for cash or deposit.
Next: Guidelines to Consider When Cashing Checks
Go to: Check Fraud Contents