Believe it or not, but check printing and depositing is still a viable—and popular—form of sending funds in the United States today. While many people have shifted to entirely electronic transactions for sending and receiving money, traditional checks still play a vital role in the economy and are used every day by businesses and individuals alike. Here, we’re taking a closer look at how to send checks safely and securely through the mail. In most cases, these steps are relatively simple to keep your funds secure.
What is Check Fraud?
We’ve all heard this term, but do you know exactly what it means? It helps to break it down into two parts. Fraud refers to any moment when someone intentionally deprives another entity (which could be an individual or a business) of funds through deceptive practices. Therefore, it seems clear that check fraud refers to any action when fraud is committed by someone using a check. Common examples of check fraud include stealing or altering the information on the check. This type of fraud has existed since checks have been around and fraudsters’ methods continue to become more advanced and intricate.
Despite increasingly secure checks, the risk of check fraud continues. Fraudsters have developed intricate ways to rob people of their funds and there are quite a few different forms of check fraud. Some of the more common tyles include check washing, which is when someone uses chemicals to remove information from a check and then fill it out. Check to kite occurs when the fraudster gains access to finds in an account before the bank has the opportunity to pull them from another account.
No matter the type of check fraud, this action can quickly rob someone or a business of their funds, personal information, and sense of security. This is why it’s absolutely essential to take precautions before doing something as simple as dropping off a check in the mail. Aim to always use checks with the latest security measures.
Also read: How AI Can Help to Prevent Coupon Fraud
Is it Safe to Send Checks in the Mail?
Although the threat of check fraud will always exist, it is still safe to send checks in the mail. People send checks in the mail every day all over the world and the majority of these transactions remain secure. However, there are additional steps you can take to further ensure your funds and personal information are safe.
How to Safely Send Checks in the Mail
While it is generally safe to send checks via the mail, there are still certain precautions you should take every time before you drop that checkoff. Most of these tips are surprisingly simple and can make a major impact on the security of your funds as they’re being delivered.
Take a look at some tips to help you safely send your checks in the mail:
- Completely fill out the check: this may seem obvious, but it’s important to completely fill out every part of the check before mailing it. Leaving empty spots on the check can make it that much easier for a potential fraudster to alter the information and leave your funds exposed to fraud. Also, avoid adding additional information, such as your social security number, that may not be needed.
- Verify the information: once the check is completed, make sure to “double-check” all the information to ensure it’s accurate. Having a name misspelled or the amount incorrect may not open you open to check fraud necessarily, but it could make the check invalid and force you to send another one.
- Make your check less visible: if someone can easily see your check through the envelope, this dramatically increases the chance of theft or check fraud. There are two primary ways you can mask your check within the envelope. First, wrap the check-in another piece of paper to obscure it. Secondly, you can use a colored or darker envelope that makes it more difficult to see what’s inside.
- Use the post office: this may not be as convenient as walking outside, but it’s often safer. By dropping off your checks at the post office, in addition to any other important packages, you’ll decrease the risk of fraud or theft. It’s simple to reach into a mailbox at someone’s house, but much harder to do so at the official post office.
- Track your checks: keep an eye on your checks as they reach their destination. If you use the post office, you can easily track the progress of your check. If it doesn’t reach its destination in the expected time, this may be a red flag that an issue has occurred. This is also helpful if your check is time-sensitive.
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What About Sending Cash in the Mail?
It’s always wise to avoid sending cash directly in the mail. Compared to a check, a wad of cash is much easier to notice bulging from an envelope. Even just a few bills may be visible through a white envelope with ease. With cash, anyone can simply grab the envelope and that’s it. When you need to send funds, opt instead for sending a security check or using an electronic payment method. It’s rarely ever worth the risk to send cash.
Conclusion – Is it Safe to Send Checks in the Mail?
Before you drop off a check in the mail, have you considered how secure that money actually is? We may not often think about it, but check fraud is still a major issue for individuals and financial institutions all over the world. While checks have become more secure, fraudsters continue to develop methods for defrauding people of their money.
So, the next time you go to mail a check, make sure you take simple steps to keep it secure. Completely fill out the check, verify that the information is correct, and use a dark envelope and extra piece of paper to keep the check disguised. Additionally, never send cash in the mail. These quick steps can help protect you, your money, and your peace of mind.