Check washing?? YIKES!
What Is Check Washing?
Check washing is a type of fraud in which criminals change the original information on a legitimate check to get unauthorized access to your funds.
How to Prevent Check Washing
Below are some tips to protect yourself from check washing:
Contact your bank about whether they oﬀer Positive Pay, a fraud-prevention service commonly oﬀered to bank customers. You provide the bank with a list of checks that have been approved for deposit. If a check is presented that doesn’t match the information on your approved list, the bank notiﬁes you and withholds payment until you instruct them to either accept or reject the check.
Some banks oﬀer the service for free, while others charge. Positive Pay also protects against duplicate deposits if a check is lost or someone attempts to deposit a check multiple times. Remember that stop-payment orders typically expire after six to twelve months, depending on the institution, although they can usually be extended by request.
Write checks using black gel ink. It’s more diﬃcult to remove this type of ink if the criminal is attempting to use a check-washing chemical. Here is an article discussing the Better Business Bureau’s suggested use of these types of pens.
Verify the client or third party’s mailing address before sending them a check. Many people move or change their mailing address but don’t think to notify their attorney, especially if their representation has been lengthy.
Deposit outgoing mail in the blue collection boxes at your oﬃce or inside the local post oﬃce by putting it in the lobby mail slot or handing it to a mail employee before the oﬃce closes.
Never leave mail in mailbox overnight.
If using mobile deposit, immediately and properly dispose of the check after deposit, such as by shredding.
Thanks to Oregon PLF for the great article!