Securities in Paper Checks to Prevent Check Fraud

One of the most common forms of bank fraud is through the use of checks. Individuals can simply steal checks and withdraw cash as their own. Other individuals may simply do what is called check kiting, or intentionally using checks for goods even though they know they have insufficient funds. Doctoring checks is much less common especially with advances in technology that protect individual’s checks, especially from being photocopied.


There are two main security features to look from when accepting personal checks. The first is to check the signature line. If a check has been photocopied for use, the microprint signature line will appear dotted instead of solid. Any check that looks washed out or black and white is also probably a copy.


Next, check the back. All checks will have a printed security screen pattern on the back as well as descriptions of other security features unique to different check providers. A check should be fully and properly filled out. If you receive a cashier’s check missing any information, then the check is not a genuine, certified check from a financial institution.


Paper checks can still be necessary into the current financial market but in many cases they are being phased out as people opt for electronic direct deposits and online banking. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Treasury phased out paper checks for social security, and other federal aid programs, and opted to provide all funds through electronic checks. This reduced the department’s overhead by approximately $1 billion dollars. Electronic funds provide safer and more convenient delivery of money to recipients.