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6.8.2023 / Fraud Education

Check Security Features That Help Protect You From Fraud

According to the American Banking Association, there are over 500 million checks that are forged yearly, amounting to losses approximating more than $10 billion. Additional statistics show that the loss per check issued in the United States amounts to $1,545 on average. Keep in mind that failure to ensure check security features can result in a shift of financial liability from the bank to the checking account holder.

There are a number of check security features that have been developed to protect businesses and consumers. Banks and vendors that print checks can select which of these security measures they want to use. So, not all features are on every check.

Here is a list of the more commonly used commonly used check security features that can help you recognize fraudulent checks:

  1. Void feature – This check security feature is usually invisible to the eye but warning words such as “copy,” “invalid,” or “void” appear when the check is photocopied.

  2. Microprinting technology – One or more of the line borders on the check appear solid to the naked eye, but they are actually words printed using tiny letters only visible under magnification. This is among the best ways to protect against fraud.

  3. Heat-sensitive colors – A newer innovation is the use of heat-sensitive colors on checks. Thermochromic ink disappears when the banknote is subjected to temperatures beyond 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you touch or blow on an image printed with the heat-sensitive ink, it will disappear. As it cools down again, the image will reappear.

  4. Watermark – The watermark is a graphic embedded within its paper, so it cannot be copied or scanned. Watermarks also show banking institutions that the paper used for the bank check meets all the necessary specifications for the execution of laser check printing technology.

  5. Check endorsement clause of the ABA – A warning is printed on the back of the check to describe the color of ink, watermarks, micro-printing, and other security features of the check. This information helps the recipient of the check know what to look for when determining its authenticity.

Today's checks are specifically designed with multiple layers of defense to protect against fraud to make it much more difficult to copy and fake a business check. Despite courts upholding the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) for check fraud, it is still important for businesses and checking account holders to ensure that due care and diligence is exercised to protect such an important document.

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