5 Tips to Avoid Counterfeit Checks

how to avoid counterfeit checks fake check forged bank fraud

One of the most important aspects of running a business is ensuring a strong bottom line. This can’t happen if your accounting is always taking a negative hit. 

It’s time to put an end to accepting counterfeit checks.  

Getting taken by fake checks costs people and businesses millions every year. Depositing bad checks costs you twice. You give away free goods and services. The bank turns around and rejects the check plus charges you a fee for processing it. 

Worse, you’re labeled as that company who got burned by this type of fraud.

When running a business, it’s difficult to avoid counterfeit checks. Find out and learn here how to spot fraudulent checks and avoid them at all costs.

Look at the Edges of Counterfeit Checks

Real checks have perforated or rough-type edges. This proves the check was once torn from a checkbook or register.

Scammers like to use fraudulent software that prints checks on computer paper with smooth edges. Let that be your first clue. Grab a magnifying glass if you need to. 

Bank Logo and Identification Information 

Fake checks don’t come from check distributors who utilize security measures with banks. Some of these security measures require banks to use their logo and verifying ID information on checks. 

If the check has no verifiable logo or the logo looks washed out, it’s either an online copy or photoshopped. Screenshots and copies distort in size and color when they’re copied and pasted. 

That’s a clear sign it’s not bank-issued.

You should also be able to verify the bank’s full address on the check. If any of it is missing or incorrect, you have a counterfeit.

The Routing Number

The routing number is another great source for verifying the issuing bank. It’s nine digits in length and is normally the first set of digits at the bottom of the check. 

If you receive a check without a routing number or less than nine digits, it’s fake. The Federal Reserve Banking Website lets you check the status of a routing number. 

MICR Line

Every check has a MICR line. It stands for magnetic ink character recognition and sits at the bottom of every check. 

The MICR line lists the routing number, account number, and check number, in that order. If you run your finger across it, you should not be able to feel it. This line doesn’t use shiny ink either. 

A shiny MICR line is a clear sign of a fraudulent check. Don’t accept it. Start using a money transfer platform instead. 

The Check Number

The check number appears in the upper right corner of the check. It also appears at the bottom of the check on the MICR line.

If the check numbers don’t match, it’s a counterfeit check. 

Spare Your Business

Don’t let counterfeit checks take your business under. Use these tips to spot a fraud and protect your business at all costs. 

Let us help your business with more tips like these. Check out the Finance section to learn more about better banking and frugal finances.