As we move towards a cashless society and rely more on credit cards and EFTPOS, cheques are gradually diminishing.
However, cheque fraud still poses a serious risk to the business community and individuals alike. It can result in loss of funds from accounts or loss of goods.
Frauds involving cheques include:
- presenting lost, stolen or counterfeit cheques
- fraudulently cashing cheques
- "bounced" cheques because of insufficient funds in the account
- inadequate cheque clearance procedures
- using unauthorised business cheques
Using cheques out of sequence or ordering a new chequebook before using the previous one can also result in fraudulent activity.
What can you do?
Keep track of your cheques by using them in sequence from the beginning of the book and keeping your chequebook in a safe place.
Other steps you can take include ensuring:
- blank cheques are not pre-signed
- cheques are made payable to a particular business or individual. Never write cheques to cash or bearer.
- transaction details are recorded on the relevant cheque stub
- there are sufficient funds in your account to meet the cheque on presentation
When you receive a cheque
Keep cheques you receive safe and bank them promptly. You can also make a request to the bank for special clearance.
Avoid cheque fraud by making sure:
- cheques payable to a third party are properly endorsed by the payee
- cheque endorsement is in order
- there are no alterations to the cheque
- the cheque has the correct date
- figures match the writing
- signature is okay
- the company issuing the cheque confirms it's validity
Download the Cheque Fraud Brochure.