Cheque fraud is a real threat. In 2016, the Royal Bank of Canada reported $283 million losses due to cheque fraud. This can be a scary number, but it’s important to remember that most people aren’t affected by this type of crime—and that there are ways you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of cheque fraud.
Avoid using personal cheques as much as possible
Preventing fraud is the best way to ensure a check remains in your hands. How long does it take a check to deposit? As per SoFi experts, it takes, “usually around one business day. If you are experiencing delays, there could be an easy explanation for why that’s happening.” Avoid using personal cheques as much as possible and consider using one of the following alternatives instead:
- Debit card – You can use a debit card at ATMs, shops, restaurants and other places where it’s accepted. Unlike credit or cheque cards, you’ll only pay for what you spend.
- Credit card – This is an alternative to debit cards if your bank offers them. It allows you to purchase goods or services on credit with payment due at a later date; however, unlike debit cards there are usually interest charges for carrying debt over time with this type of financing option.
Shred old cheques
- Shred old cheques that you no longer need. Don’t leave them lying around, and don’t use them to write on.
- Don’t leave them in your wallet or car, as they could be taken if someone breaks into either of those places.
- Be careful when disposing of checkbooks or other documents with your bank account details on them – it may be a good idea to shred these as well.
Sign your cheque as soon as you receive it
- Sign your check as soon as you receive it. If you don’t, the check can be altered and deposited without your knowledge.
- Signing your cheque as soon as possible means that the cheque cannot be stolen or deposited without your consent.
Keep your cheques in a secure location
- Keep the check in a secure location. It should never be left unattended, and it should not be kept in a place where you might forget about it.
- Don’t leave your cheques in your car, at home or at work or anywhere that is easily accessible to others who may want to steal them from you.
- If you keep cash on hand for petty cash or for other uses, make sure that it’s in an envelope secured with either a rubber band or paper clip. This way no one can get into the envelope without making some noise and drawing the attention of others as they try to get into it.
Stay vigilant with your banking
Keeping track of your bank account is the first step in preventing cheque fraud. If you are unaware of how much money is in your account, it will be impossible to know if something suspicious is going on.
Try to keep a close eye on all purchases, even small ones. If you see any charges that seem out of character, notify the bank immediately so they can investigate and possibly reverse the transaction before it’s too late.
Online banking makes this task much easier because it allows you to access your accounts from anywhere at any time; there are no excuses for forgetting about them!
As you have seen, there are several ways to protect yourself from cheque fraud. By taking the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your account is safe and secure.