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How to avoid being a victim of check fraud

Don’t be a check fraud victim – get savvy about avoiding check fraud so it doesn’t happen to you. Understanding how a check works can help to protect you (and your money) from fraud.

Apple Pay®Android Pay®Person-to-Person PayOnline Bill Pay – there are many ways technology has made it easier to pay for things. But, while checks may no longer be the most common way to pay, fraudsters continue to add them to their arsenal of scam tricks.

Understand how a check works to fend off check fraud schemes

Whether you are having a yard sale or selling an item on Craigslist, understanding how a check works can help to protect you (and your money) from fraud.

Once you deposit your check, the cash value may appear in your account. However, it may have a hold on a certain portion or all of the check. This hold is a good faith gesture that the money is there. Typically, it lasts from two to six days. Just because the hold may be released, does not mean the funds have cleared.

The check then goes to the Federal Reserve. They send it to the other person’s financial institution to see if the money is there. The other institution will then pull the money out of that account and the check will not be returned. If the check is fraudulent, they say, “Nope! No good,” and return the check back to the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve returns the “bounced” check to Numerica. This means that those funds you thought you had will no longer be there, and you may be liable for a returned check fee. This process typically takes anywhere from two days to two weeks.

When receiving a check remember

  • A check “clears” when the money has transferred from the check writer’s account
  • You’ll have to repay any funds you use if the check bounces, and there might be a fee for insufficient funds
  • Checks can be returned up to 45 days after being deposited
  • When making a mobile deposit, keep a copy of the check for up to 60 days (in case the check is returned or there is a problem)

Numerica is always looking for ways to help reduce stress and help you live well. If you have questions, concerns or feel you are being a target for fraud, please contact 800.433.1837.

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