The overwhelming majority of attempted cheque fraud is stopped before the cheque is paid and the industry continues to concentrate their efforts on identifying cheque fraud – particularly through the use of fraud prevention systems.
- Never accept a cheque, or banker’s draft from someone, unless you know and trust them. Be especially wary when accepting a high–value cheque; for instance if you are selling a car.
- Always complete cheques using a ballpoint pen, or pen with indelible ink.
- Draw a line through all unused spaces, including after the payee name.
- Following the introduction of the 2-4-6 rules you can be sure that at the end of the 6th day after you have paid the cheque in to your account, the money is yours and there is no risk that the money could be reclaimed IF the cheque turns out to be stolen, fraudulently altered or counterfeit.
- It is safer to ask for payment for high–value items to be made by other means (an internet or phone banking payment or a CHAPS payment). There is a charge for a CHAPS payment but it is a guaranteed same–day value payment. If the “buyer” is unwilling to pay the relatively small cost involved – or to split it with you – then you really do need to be on your guard.
- Be aware that a banker’s draft or building society cheque is not necessarily safe from fraud. They can be stolen or altered like any other cheque, and if altered, stolen or counterfeit they will not be honoured. If you receive a banker’s draft in payment for goods, you should wait until the end of the 6th working day after you’ve paid the draft in to your account before releasing the goods.
- Keep your chequebook in a safe place, report any missing cheques to your bank immediately and always check your bank statement thoroughly.
- If you are making a cheque payable to a bank or credit card company to pay off your credit card bill, you must ensure that you provide sufficient details about the payee and enter the full details for the account holder in the payee line.
Banks consider all incidents of cheque fraud on an a case-by-case basis and take reasonable steps to ensure that cheques are genuine before they are paid, but, generally speaking, if you are an innocent victim of cheque fraud who has had a cheque or chequebook stolen and used fraudulently you will be refunded.
However, if you are the victim of a scam because you have accepted a cheque or banker’s draft that turns out to be fraudulent, and you have parted with either goods or services or, in the case of receiving a cheque or banker’s draft for an inflated amount, you have paid cash back to the buyer, you are unlikely to be refunded.
Use the “cheque checker” which will allow you to confirm when the proceeds of a cheque will be yours.