Check Fraud and Skimming

What is check fraud?

Any alteration, fabrication, or corruption of one party’s checks performed by a second party with the intent to injure or harm the first party, primarily in pursuit of financial gain, is check fraud.

Check fraud can occur through

  • Forged signatures or forged endorsements
  • Altering of a legitimate check, for example by changing the amount
  • Counterfeiting a check that looks legitimate, but was created from scratch by the criminal, using a legitimate bank's account/routing numbers

Tips to protect yourself from check fraud

  • Always fill your checks out in ink
  • Never leave spaces where numbers, etc. can be inserted
  • Be cautious who you write checks to as they have your account and routing number on them
  • Shred voided and obsolete checks
  • Never give your account number to anyone
  • Safeguard your checks; if they should be stolen or lost, notify your bank IMMEDIATELY
  • Watch all your bank statements for unauthorized transactions

What is skimming fraud?

Skimming happens when a criminal steals the information from your credit or debit card. The most common form of skimming is ATM skimming.

ATM skimming typically involves a device that looks like a legitimate card reader and another device that is either placed as a second keypad over the actual one, or as a camera above the keypad.

Once in place, the criminal watches the ATM from a distance and then retrieves the devices. The information (card numbers, PINs, etc.) is then used to make new cards and withdraw money from victims' accounts.

Any time your debit or credit card leaves your sight, you are at risk of being skimmed. Methods for retrieving sensitive financial information from cards is becoming more sophisticated.

To protect yourself from skimming

  • Try not to use unfamiliar ATMs
  • If you are using an unfamiliar ATM, be sure to check it for things out of the ordinary (the devices are usually attached with double-sided tape)
  • If you pay at a restaurant with a credit or a debit card, ask if you can swipe it yourself or at least keep an eye on your card

For more tips on how to avoid being a victim of fraud, check out our Best Practices section.

PLEASE NOTE: All information on our security resources pages is provided as a convenience to customers and non-customers alike. Our Online Privacy & Terms apply to all information posted. In case you are the victim of a financial or other crime involving any of the security issues discussed here, contact law enforcement and other pertinent authorities and organizations IMMEDIATELY. Never send out your personal information by unencrypted email.

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