For video in English, click here.
Are paper checks a thing of the past? Although the number of paper checks in circulation is on the decline, fraud experts say they are becoming more of a problem than a solution. According to the Federal Reserve, last year financial institutions received more than 680,000 suspicious activity reports related to check fraud.
The uptick in check fraud is due to a surge in mail theft from mailboxes, trucks, and even letter carriers. Thieves are specifically seeking out checks that they can “wash” to alter the original recipient and dollar amount or to sell on the dark web. Another concern, checks are loaded with our personal information including our name, address, bank account and routing number. With this information, thieves are able to find out even more about a person like their Social Security number and email address.
Experts suggest using alternative ways to pay including cash transfer apps such as Zelle®, which partners with banks to safely send and receive money straight from your banking app. To learn more about Zelle®, visit themerrimack.com/zelle.
If you choose to use checks, here are some tips to lower your risk of fraud:
- When filling out a check, write out the amount so the words fill out the line. Also make sure the numeric amount fills the box.
- Use permanent ink to prevent the check from being washed.
- Never write check out to “Cash”.
- Sign your checks the same way every time so your signature is easily recognized by the bank.
- Keep your checks in a secure, private place in your home.
- Deposit mail in collection boxes as close to the indicated pickup time or take it inside the post office for mailing.
- Regularly review your statements for suspicious activity.
If you are a Merrimack customer and are concerned your personal or financial information was compromised, please call us directly at 603.225.2793.