According to the National Consumer League, fake checks are the number one scam reported to their Fraud Center.Several methods can be used to determine if a check is real.It is important to be aware of common check-related scam so that you can protect yourself.
Step 1: The edges should be looked at.
Most checks written by legitimate businesses have one edge that is rough.If all sides are smooth, examine the sides of the check.It could have been printed on a computer.
Step 2: The bank’s logo should be checked.
There is a logo on the front of the check.The check is likely fake if you don’t see a logo.The logo is likely to be copied from another source if it is faded or faint.This is a sign of a fake check.Look for an address if the logo seems legit.You can check the validity of the address by going to the bank’s website or calling it.Make sure the address is correct.The check is likely to be a fake if it has no address or a PO Box.
Step 3: The check number can be found.
There is a check number for any legitimate check.There is a check at the top right hand corner.The check is fake if it doesn’t have a check number.The number against the number in the magnetic ink character recognition line is the check number.The MICR line is the line of numbers at the bottom of a check that the issuing bank gives all the relevant numbers for.The long string of numbers contains the account number and check number.The numbers on the far right of the line should match the check number.The check is likely a fake if it doesn’t match.If the check number is low, it may be a fake.90 percent of fake checks are written from new accounts.
Step 4: Take a look at the MICR line.
Every check issued by a real bank has the MICR line at the bottom.To check the feel of the ink, Rub your finger over the line.Look at the ink’s quality.The ink used for the MICR line is dull.The check is fake if it is raised or shiny.You need to look at the number in the line.The first series of numbers will be in the MICR line.Search the Federal Reserve Bank Services website for the institution issuing the check.You can check the information of the bank against the name and address given to you by the Federal Reserve.You may have a fake check if it doesn’t match.
Step 5: Feel the paper.
Real checks are printed on thick stock paper.Rub the check with your fingers.The check is thick.The check gives resistance so bend it back and forth.It is likely a fake check if it is thin and flimsy.The fake checks are printed on shiny paper.The check might be fake if it is not printed on matt paper.You can take an ink test.Put your finger in the inked area of the check.The fake was printed on a color printer.
Step 6: The signature is visible.
There is a consistent signature on most signed checks.There are gaps in the signature, a digital appearance or shaky and erratic pen strokes.There are signs that show the signature was forged or scanned.If the signature seems forced, you should look for other clues.Sometimes a stamp is made up to sign checks, which can make it look printed or irregular.Be aware of this issue.
Step 7: Check for things that aren’t right.
Look for an address of a payee to see if a check is fake.You should notice if it is typed instead of printed.Spelling and typing errors can be found in the printed areas.The amount of the check is spelled out.There are areas where things have been added or erased from the check.You might have a fake check if you see anything out of the ordinary.
Step 8: It’s a good idea to develop a policy for accepting checks.
It’s important that you have strict rules for accepting checks.Don’t rely on a physical examination of the check to protect yourself from fraud.Checks should not be accepted for more than the purchase amount if they are starter checks, unnumbered checks or non-personalized checks.
Step 9: Send money to people you don’t know.
If you get a check in the mail that says you won a lottery or a sweepstakes, you should be careful.This check is the first of many, so it’s often a scam to say that it only represents part of your winnings.They want you to pay taxes on your winnings.This is a sign of a scam.You should never give money to someone you don’t know.You will never be asked to send money to a legitimate company.Taxes on such winnings should be paid by the government.Do not wire transfer money under these circumstances.Sending someone cash is the same as this.There is no way to get your money back once you know it is a scam.
Step 10: Check the companies.
Many check scam use legitimate businesses as a cover.You should contact the company if you see a real company attached to the check.Don’t use the information that was sent with the check.The person scamming you could have created these details.If the check you received is real, look for information from an independent source.Look up the company on the internet or in a phone directory.Most businesses will let you know if they sent you a check or are participating in a contest.
Step 11: Don’t spend the money until the check is verified.
A fake check is not always seen by a bank.Even if the check is fake, you can cash it.The bank may not know a check is fake until it tries to clear it.The process can take weeks.You will have to pay the money back to the bank if you cash the check or deposit it.It doesn’t matter if the check is a scam or not.Do your homework to make sure the check is legit.Wait until the check is cleared by the bank before you spend the money.You are responsible for determining the legitimacy of a check if you attempt to cash it.Your accounts can be frozen if you don’t comply with the bank’s request to return the money.You can be sued by the bank for the money.If you were unaware of the circumstances, you can be charged with fraud.
Step 12: Don’t work-at- home scam.
Some checks seem like job offers.This is likely a scam if you are contacted to be a mystery shopper or account manager.Most legitimate companies that hire mystery shoppers won’t send you checks or money orders until you deposit them.When you deposit the checks, you take your pay as cash.It’s never a good idea to deposit checks for someone you don’t know or work from home for an unknown business.Mystery shopping isn’t a get-rich-quick opportunity.You only get paid after you complete the tasks and send the survey form.The company will always reimburse you if you are asked to buy something.The Mystery Shopping Providers Association can help you find a legitimate mystery shopping opportunity.This kind of scam can be applied to many other scenarios where you do a small amount of work from home.A legitimate company wouldn’t ask you to deposit checks on their behalf or pay you in such a way.
Step 13: Don’t invest in foreign investments.
A lot of scam writers will write you and ask you to invest in a foreign company.They will give you a check for an advance on your profits.This is a scam.Don’t cash a check that is supposed to be an advance on a foreign investment.If you don’t do extensive research before investing, you should avoid it.
Step 14: Don’t take grants from strangers.
This is a scam if you receive a notification that you did not apply for a grant.Grants are given for a specific purpose.They are not free money.A scam organization will send you a check for a certain amount and ask you to make a payment in order to get the rest of the grant.You will lose money if you send a fake check to the organization.Real grants are not given lightly.You should always apply for grants.Grants are usually given in conjunction with an organization or institution where you will be doing research, paper, or study.