Just because you are a trendsetter, it doesn’t mean you want to be caught up in the latest fad sweeping the nation. Check fraud and identity theft are happening left and right. These trends aren’t good for you as a person and as a consumer. The good news is that you can protect yourself.
- Print your Own Checks on a Laser Printer
Following this tips let you protect yourself from criminals who would like to wash your checks. Check washing allows individuals to take a check and alter it. Using chemicals, the criminal can change the amount the check is written for and to whom it is written. Chemicals used to wash a traditional check are thwarted when used on checks printed on a laser printer. Blank checks can be easily purchased and often have even more security features built in.
- Keep your Financial Information Organized and Secure
Manual checks can also be easily purchased. These allow you to note the amount the check was written for and to whom it was written. These allow you to write the check yourself, without needing to be printed. Additionally, the information is very neatly organized in a binder to allow effective storage. Just make sure you sign it with a gel pen, as this type of ink has proven to be very resistant to washing. Ball point pens, markers and even permanent markers are easily altered.
- Review your Account Frequently
In addition to knowing exactly what your balance is, knowing what is coming and going in your account gives you security. The moment you see something suspicious, you should contact your financial institution. This will be the best preventative action against further fraudulent action. Also, if you don’t notify the bank or credit union within 30 days you will most likely be responsible for the lost funds.
- Shred your Personal Information
Anything with personal information should be shredded prior to being discarded. Bank statements, blank checks, returned checks, and credit card applications are among the items you should shred. A thief can easily steal your returned check from your garbage or your recycling. They can also take the information from your bank statement. Make it harder for them to do so; shred everything that has any personal information.
- Mail your Payments Directly at the Post Office
Don’t let your check sit unguarded in your mailbox overnight. Criminals often cruise neighborhoods to see if there is a flag up on a mailbox and if that mail may contain a check. Opt to take your mail to the post office where you can hand it directly to an officially-employed individual or drop it securely into a box that is emptied frequently and is not overflowing.