Check Fraud Skimming

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Check Fraud and Skimming

Two of the most common forms of fraud are Check Fraud and Skimming.  Check fraud is exactly as it sounds: any alteration, fabrication, or corruption of one party’s checks performed by a second party with the intent to injure or harm the first party, primarily in pursuit of financial gain.

Check Fraud can happen through:

  • Forged signatures or endorsements
  •  Altering a valid check (changing the amount of the check)
  • Counterfeiting a check that looks legitimate, but was created from scratch by the criminal using a valid account/routing number 

How to protect yourself from check fraud

  • Always fill out your checks in ink
  • Never leave spaces where numbers could be added
  • Be cautious as to who you write out to – checks contain your routing and account numbers
  • Shred voided or old checks
  • Never give out your account number
  • Keep your extra checks in a safe location: if they are lost or stolen, notify your bank IMMEDIATELY
  • Balance your checkbook with your bank statement and look out of any unauthorized transactions

What is Skimming?

Skimming is when a criminal steals the information from your credit or debit card.  The most common form of skimming is ATM skimming.

ATM skimming typically involves a device that looks like a regular card reader and another device that is either placed as a second keypad over the original one, or a camera above the keypad.  Once in place, the criminal watches the devices on the ATM from a distance and makes new cards with the stolen information. They use these “new cards” to withdraw money from the victim’s accounts.  Anytime your credit or debit card leaves your sight, you are at risk of being skimmed. 

How to protect your information:

  • Try not to use unfamiliar ATMs
  • If you do use an unfamiliar ATM, be sure to look for anything unusual (these devices are usually attached with double stick tape)
  • If paying at a restaurant with your debit or credit card, ask if you can swipe it yourself (or at least keep an eye on your card while the transaction is being processed