Paper check usage continues to decline each year, and yet check fraud remains one of the highest fraud concerns for businesses. Believe it or not, thousands of businesses are victims of check fraud every year, and it can catch owners by surprise. Some insight into this type of fraud could come in handy, and it is also worth noting that there are steps you can take to protect your business.
What is Check Fraud?
Check fraud is one of the oldest and still most common ways that scammers attempt to steal money. Paper checks are an easy target for criminals. Since they’re passed hand-to-hand on their way to payment, they can easily be stolen, duplicated, altered or cashed illegally.
One way this happens is when a check, issued by a business owner, is intercepted by a scammer. The scammer can wash the check and then alter it. If your business account information is on the check, it gives the scammers an opportunity to create counterfeit checks, putting your money at an even greater risk.
Another common way a scammer can commit check fraud is through obtaining blank or canceled checks. If checks are not being securely stored, someone can steal the blank checks and illegally cash funds.
How to Protect Your Business Against Check Fraud
If You Are Still Using Paper Checks, Store Them in a Secure Location
Make sure to keep any blank checks, canceled checks and bank statements locked up and stored in a secure spot. Consider using a safe or lockbox. Taking this extra step can help keep you protected from fraudsters.
Reduce Paper Check Usage
Another solution is to reduce the amount of checks your business issues. A smart and efficient way to pay vendors and to do payroll is through ACH. ACH offers a secure, efficient and easy way for you to issue payments without the risk associated with paper checks.
Many banks offer Positive Pay solutions for businesses, which is a way to ensure that the checks being presented for payment are legitimate before they are paid. For instance, Blackhawk Bank offers Check Positive Pay that allows businesses to upload the information from the checks that they have issued, verify all items presented, and then pay only the approved checks, reducing the overall risk of financial loss.
Finding a Reliable Banking Partner
Owning a business is a team effort, and one of the best ways you can protect your company is by finding a banking partner you trust. Experienced bankers will not only go the extra mile to provide you with a personalized service, but they also know what it takes to set your business up for success for years to come.