1. Home
  2. /
  3. education
  4. /
  5. How to Safeguard Your...

How to Safeguard Your Business Checks: Best Practices and Tips

Fraudulent activities involving business checks can have severe financial consequences. 

It is essential for businesses to implement effective safeguards to protect themselves against check fraud. 

This article will provide valuable insights into preventing check fraud, including identification of fraudulent activities, how to safeguard your business checks, strategies for check fraud prevention, and steps to take if fraudulent activity occurs.

Types of Fraudulent Activities:

Counterfeiting, alteration, and forgery are three common types of check fraud. 

Counterfeiting involves creating fake checks that look like genuine ones, while alteration involves changing details on a valid check such as the payee’s name or the amount. 

Forgery is when an unauthorized signature or endorsement is placed on a check. Fraudsters have become more sophisticated in their methods, and it’s essential to be vigilant and recognize any indicators of fraudulent activity such as color or paper quality, font, or alignment. 

In recent years, low-cost technologies such as color printers and mobile check depositing apps have made it easier for fraudsters to commit check fraud.

how to safeguard your business checks: complete tutorial

How to Safeguard Your Business Checks: Best Practices

Centralizing Check Writing Responsibilities:

  • Segregation of duties: Separating the roles of check preparation, authorization, and record-keeping among different personnel reduces the risk of internal fraud.
  • Clearly defined policies and procedures: Establishing clear guidelines for check issuance ensures consistency and accountability within the organization.
  • Regular review of check issuance processes: Periodically reviewing and updating check issuance procedures helps identify any gaps or areas of vulnerability.

Implementing Checks and Balances:

  • Dual verification process: Requiring two authorized individuals to review and approve check requests, especially for large amounts, provides an additional layer of security.
  • Limiting access to check stock: Storing blank checks in secure locations with restricted access prevents unauthorized individuals from obtaining and misusing them.
  • Reconciliation of issued checks: Regularly reconciling issued checks with bank statements and internal records helps detect any discrepancies or fraudulent activity.

Regular Review and Reconciliation of Bank Statements:

  • Frequency of reviewing bank statements: Promptly reviewing monthly bank statements ensures timely identification and resolution of any discrepancies or unauthorized transactions.
  • Verification of check clearing: Cross-referencing the cleared checks listed on the bank statement with internal records can help detect any suspicious or unauthorized transactions.
  • Investigating and reporting discrepancies: If any discrepancies or fraudulent activity are detected, businesses should promptly notify their bank and initiate an investigation.

Working with a Trusted Supplier for Business Checks:

  • Choosing a reputable check vendor: Selecting a trusted supplier ensures the use of high-quality checks with advanced security features that are difficult to replicate.
  • Security features to consider when ordering checks: Watermarks, microprinting, and chemical alteration protection are just a few examples of security features to look for in business checks.
  • Conducting periodic checks of check stock inventory: Regularly auditing and monitoring the supply of blank checks helps identify any missing or stolen checks, minimizing the risk of misuse.

Using Secure Printing Methods for Checks:

  • MICR encoding: Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) encoding adds a layer of protection by using specialized magnetic ink that is difficult to reproduce.
  • Restricting check printing access: Limiting check printing capabilities to authorized personnel reduces the risk of unauthorized check creation.
  • Secure storage of unused checks: Blank checks should be securely stored in a locked cabinet or safe to prevent unauthorized access and potential misuse.

Educating Employees and Staff:

  • Training on check fraud awareness: Educating employees about the various types of check fraud and their associated red flags helps them identify suspicious activity promptly.
  • Encouraging a culture of accountability: Promoting an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting any potential signs of check fraud can help prevent and detect fraudulent activities.
  • Regular security awareness training: Ongoing training and reminders about best practices for check handling, fraud prevention, and reporting potential incidents are essential in maintaining a vigilant workforce.

check fraud

Strategies for Check Fraud Prevention:

Positive Pay Systems:

Positive pay is a service offered by banks that requires businesses to submit a list of authorized checks before they are presented for payment. 

The bank verifies the check details against this list, reducing the risk of fraudulent checks being cashed.

Positive pay provides an additional layer of protection against check fraud; however, it does not prevent other forms of fraud, such as forged signatures or altered payee names.

Account Screening:

Utilizing advanced software solutions can help businesses monitor account activity, identify patterns of suspicious behavior, and generate alerts for potential fraudulent transactions.

Implementing real-time monitoring helps detect and prevent fraudulent activity, allowing businesses to respond swiftly to any emerging threats.

Encryption and Authentication Methods:

The use of encryption, such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS), helps protect sensitive information during online or digital banking transactions.

Implementing additional layers of authentication beyond just usernames and passwords, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, provides stronger security for account access.

What to do if Fraudulent Activity Occurs:

In the unfortunate event of fraudulent activity involving business checks, it is crucial to take immediate action to minimize losses and prevent further fraudulent transactions. Steps to consider include:

Reporting the Incident to the Bank and Relevant Authorities:

Businesses should promptly contact their bank to report any suspected fraudulent activity and provide all relevant details to aid in the investigation.

Collaborating with local law enforcement agencies and providing them with all necessary information increases the chances of apprehending the fraudsters and preventing further incidents.

Steps to Prevent Further Fraudulent Activity:

Businesses should change account passwords and implement enhanced security measures, such as two-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorized access.

Conducting a thorough review of existing internal controls and addressing any vulnerabilities helps minimize the risk of future fraud incidents.

Additionally, ensuring employees are informed about what actions to take in the event of fraudulent activity helps mitigate potential damage and aids in faster response times.

business check

Frequently Asked Questions

What is check fraud?

Check fraud covers a wide variety of criminal activities that involve checks, including counterfeiting, alteration, forgery, and unauthorized use. Check fraud can result in financial loss, damage to reputation, and even legal consequences.

How do I identify a fraudulent check?

Fraudulent checks can be identified by signs of tampering, such as smudges, erasures, or alterations in ink or handwriting. 

Businesses should also verify the payee’s name, amount in words and numbers, and the check number. Security features such as watermarks, microprinting, and chemical alteration protection can help prevent counterfeiting.

How often should I reconcile my bank statements to prevent check fraud?

It is recommended to reconcile bank statements regularly, ideally at least monthly, to detect any discrepancies or suspicious activity as soon as possible. This helps prevent and detect fraudulent activity involving business checks.


Protecting against business check fraud is an ongoing responsibility for every business. 

By implementing best practices, adopting advanced strategies for fraud prevention, and educating employees, businesses can safeguard their financial assets and reduce the risk of falling victim to check fraud. 

Remember, vigilance, proactive measures, and staying informed about the latest fraud trends are key to maintaining the financial security of your business.