Fraudulent checks can pose a significant threat to banks and financial institutions. If they’re cashed unknowingly, the institution could be held responsible for the funds. It’s important for financial institutions to proactively verify all checks. These steps deter fraud and detect it before it becomes an issue. Here are the parts of a check to verify before cashing.
Name and Address of Payor
The name and address of the payor should always be present in the top left corner of the check. Missing or incomplete information could indicate a fraudulent check.
Size of Check
Most checks are printed in a standard 6″ x 2-3/4″ size. However, there are a few acceptable variations. Heavily scrutinize any checks that are a different size from the standard; there could be other indicators that the check is fraudulent.
Check Serial Number
A missing or incomplete serial number may indicate a fraudulent check. Additionally, any serial number that cannot be authenticated or verified could also indicate fraud.
Layout of the Check
The layout of a check is standard across the financial industry, including the placement of the memo and the signature line. Deviations from the standard layout could suggest that the check may be fraudulent and should not be cashed.
A signature on a check should always be present. Whenever possible, compare it to authenticated signatures on file.
Legal and Courtesy Amounts
On each check, the legal and courtesy amounts must match. If they don’t, this red flag could be a sign of an altered check.
The logos of the bank or company on the check should be validated to ensure that they do, in fact, belong to a legitimate entity.
Automated Check Image Analysis from SQN Banking Systems
Verifying all of the above points manually is not only time consuming, but leaves room for error. For example, it may be easy for a teller to notice missing payor information in the upper left-hand corner. But they may not notice if the signature line is a few millimeters off or if there’s an extra digit in the check serial number.
Automating check image analysis is a great way to reduce the chances that your institution will accidentally cash a fraudulent check. SQN offers secure systems like SENTRY: Inspect, SENTRY: Content, SENTRY: Seal, SENTRY: Fraud Alert, SENTRY UltraCheck, and SENTRY: Payee Lift to help financial institutions automatically analyze check images and detect fraud before a check is cashed.
Contact SQN today via our online form to learn more about automatic check image analysis and other security systems that can meet your needs.