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One of the more frequent means by which customers are defrauded is by cheque interception. On average, a cheque is handled by up to 20 people from the time you make it out to the time your branch pays it.

Cheque Fraud

One of the more frequent means by which customers are defrauded is by cheque interception. On average, a cheque is handled by up to 20 people from the time you make it out to the time your branch pays it.

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More about: Cheque Fraud

What you need to know?

  • Because cheques are handled multiple times, there are numerous opportunities for the cheque to be intercepted. This most commonly happens when cheques are posted.
  • Another common way in which customers are defrauded is in accepting a cheque or bank deposit when selling goods. Often the cheque or the deposit turns out to be fraudulent and the seller is out of pocket. Sellers are advised never to release goods until they are certain that the payment is valid
  • Always wait for the funds to be cleared before releasing goods, even if it seems to be a bank issued cheque. While the cheque may appear to be genuine, fraudsters have even gone so far as to print their own cheques. The cheque could also be stolen. Even if the cheque is genuine, there are certain circumstances when bank issued cheques will not be honoured
  • Never accept a faxed bank deposit slip as proof of payment. Amounts and details can easily be changed to reflect a higher value or that it is a cash deposit. Check with your bank first that the correct amount has been deposited and whether the deposit is cash or cheque. If it is a cheque deposit, wait until the cheque has been paid (usually this will take seven days) before you release goods

Some sensible safety tips

Completing a cheque:

  • When writing out a cheque, you should always attempt to use a ballpoint pen, instead of making use of pens with more erasable inks like fountain pens or felt tip pens
  • To prevent unauthorised additions and/or alterations, commence all writing as close as possible to the left-hand margin, leaving no gaps and drawing a line through unused spaces
  • Any cheques that the account holder does not wish to be cashed should be crossed and, to ensure that a cheque is paid into the intended beneficiary's account, the cheque should be marked with the words 'Not Transferable' between two transverse lines
  • You should take responsibility for keeping your chequebook in a safe place to prevent unauthorised use.

Safekeeping and travelling with cheques

  • You should always keep your chequebook separate from your credit cards, ATM cards or any other document that bears your signature. If a thief gets hold of your chequebook, but does not have a sample of your signature, a forged signature will probably not resemble yours
  • All paid cheques that are returned with your bank statements should be kept in a safe place because they contain your signature. Fraudsters may even try to re-use these cheques
  • You should make a habit of doing monthly reconciliations on the cheques that were issued on your account
  • Regular recons should be done on all unused cheques in a chequebook against counterfoil or carbon copy records
  • You should report a stolen chequebook to your account holding or nearest FNB branch as soon as you detect that the chequebook is missing. You also have the ability to stop a cheque online, via FNB Online Banking
  • The posting of cheques should be avoided and, should it be necessary, cheques should be placed in non-transparent or dark envelopes without any staples / paper clips, which can be felt through the envelope
  • Never have any cheques lying around that have not been completed or fully signed.

Consider the alternatives:

  • Many alternative payment methods exist that are safe and convenient and can even save on bank charges. These alternatives include Visa Cheque Cards, Visa Electron debit cards, Internet, Telephone and Cellphone Banking, ATM payments, debit orders and future dated payments