Although cheque usage in Ireland has declined significantly, fraudsters continue to use cheques as a means to make money and defraud customers. Some common types of cheque fraud are described below:
Counterfeit cheque fraud – Counterfeit cheques are manufactured or printed on non-bank paper to look exactly like genuine cheques and are drawn by a fraudster on genuine accounts held by the bank.
Fraudulently altered cheques – A fraudulently altered cheque is a genuine cheque that has been made out by the payer, but a fraudster has altered the cheque in some way before it was paid in, e.g. by altering the beneficiary /payee’s name or the amount of the cheque.
Forged cheque fraud – A forged cheque is a genuine cheque that has been stolen from an innocent customer and used by the fraudster with a forged signature.
Funds not available – This is a genuine cheque; however there are no funds in the account to honour it.
Cheque Scam – have you ever been asked to lodge a cheque for somebody? Maybe they don’t have a bank account or ask to you to mind the funds for them. You lodge the cheque, give them the cash but then the cheque doesn’t clear and you have already given them the cash.
If you use cheques from time to time take account of the advice below.
- Keep cheques in a secure place.
- Control who has access to your cheque books.
- Do not sign cheques in advance.
- Ensure all issued cheques and unused cheque numbers are accounted for. Check this when you get a new cheque book and review regularly to ensure no cheques are missing, in particular any missing from the middle or towards the back of the cheque book.
- When sending cheques in the post, send securely and avoid using window envelopes.
- Cross all cheques ‘a/c payee only’.
- Reconcile bank statements upon receipt and report anything unusual.
- Contact your bank if you have not received cheque books you were expecting.
- Bank drafts are subject to the same issues as cheques and should be treated like any other “cheque”.