Checks, a new target for fraudsters

This is a first in France. In 2019, fraud on bank checks exceeded those of other so-called cashless means of payment (bank card, transfer, direct debit, etc. as opposed to cash) while they are used less and less.

“The first fraud in this area it represents more than half of the cases -, it is the use of lost or stolen checkbooks, for example in letter boxes, sorting centers or burglaries ”, says Julien Lasalle, specialist in payment methods at the Banque de France. “You should know that a merchant or an individual is not obliged to verify the identity of the person who gives him a check, although this is an important precaution. “

The Banque de France says it has raised awareness among banks to warn their customers of a checkbook being sent. The longer the owner takes to file an objection in the event of loss or theft, the more fraudsters will be able to use the log. “The official holder may be held liable if he has taken too long to notify his bank because he has a duty of vigilance with regard to his checkbook”, insists Julien Lasalle.

The second major case of fraud concerns the falsification of completed checks, again lost or stolen. The fraudster can scratch off indications such as the name of the beneficiary or the sum and have the check cashed by a third party. “Checks should not be filled out with easily erasable ink pens and the writing should be well supported and legible”, recalls Julien Lasalle.

Likewise, leave as little space as possible between the figures of the amount. The “18 €” must not be able to become “108 €”. You should also draw a horizontal line after the last digit. Likewise on the line ” amount in words “, the “Eight euros” must not be able to transform into “Eight hundred euros”. “You must also indicate the name of the beneficiary”, specifies Julien Lasalle.

Much rarer is counterfeit checks. Their security is protected by the presence of the magnetic tape or their standardized quality paper. But above all, there is protection that can only be discovered with a magnifying glass. The lines on which you have to write the sum in full or the name of the beneficiary are in fact a series of tiny letters making up a sentence by Robert Schuman on Europe. Phrase that is also found in the two diagonal bars.


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