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Paper check fraud is on the rise. Are you doing all you can to proactively protect your money?

Fraudsters are bold and innovative in their constant efforts to get access to other people’s financial information and accounts. But sometimes they do things the old-fashioned way. Increasingly, they are turning to check fraud.

Checks are attractive to crooks because in an era when digitized financial transactions offer convenience, savings, and safety, many companies nevertheless cling to their checkbooks like a security blanket.

Some tried-and-true tricks include altering paper checks, stealing blank ones, and issuing fake checks that look good enough to pass for the real thing. The mailbox is a particular point of vulnerability—a common ruse is to grab properly written checks, then alter the details, making them out for a different amount and/or to a different person. Also, technology has made it easy to create fake check books, and the age-old art of forgery is not dead.

These methods work. Two out of every three organizations were victims of check fraud in 2021, according to the Association of Financial Professionals.

The unfortunate fact is that once you have written a check out and sent it to the payee, the item is out of your control. How, then, can you stop the bad guys from using these methods to defraud your account?

MainStreet Bank has several options that can limit the risk of these fraudulent items ever getting through to your account.

Check Positive Pay: Check Positive Pay is a service to help deter check fraud. Essentially the Bank will be informed of every check issued on a business customer’s account and as checks are presented for payment, they will be compared to the running list of outstanding items. Any check not located on the authorized list will be returned.

ACH Positive Pay: ACH Positive Pay is a service to help deter ACH fraud. The Bank will be informed of allowable ACH transactions prior to the business customer receiving an item. As these transactions are presented for payment, they will be compared to the filters provided by the customer. Any ACH outside of an allowable filter will be returned.

ACH Payments and Collections: ACH Payments and Collections are electronic transfers processed through the Automated Clearing House Network. Most commonly recognized as automatic or electronic payments and direct deposit; funds are securely sent and received electronically from bank-to-bank with no need for paper checks. As an added bonus, funds are typically received much faster than through the traditional mailing of paper checks.

It goes without saying that all of your bank account information, including any paper checks, should be kept in a secure location at all times. We’re here to help! Contact your Business Banker if you have any questions about how to better protect your accounts at MainStreet Bank.

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