5 tips for paying by check safely

There are many who want its disappearance, first and foremost the public authorities and the banks. However, against all odds, the check continues to resist, while it has disappeared everywhere else: nearly 2 billion payments made in 2017. So many of you still appreciate it, for its ease of use. And you easily can order checks online as well.

Mistrust, however: as other means of payment become more secure – this is the case in particular of the bank card – fraudsters tend to refer to the check. As a result, since 2017, the sums embezzled have exploded: 450 million euros in 2018, an amount up 53% over one year. The fraud rate reached 0.05%, or one euro embezzled for every 1,980 paid.

Essentially, this fraud takes 2 forms: the use of stolen or lost checks and the falsification of regularly issued checks. Here are 5 tips to avoid falling into the trap.

  1. Avoid sending a checkbook by simple mail

Have you finished your checkbook soon? You will therefore not belong in receiving another one. Be careful, however: it is unfortunately not uncommon for a checkbook to be stolen from a letterbox, even though banks send them anonymously. If you are a client of a traditional bank, therefore prefer the withdrawal at a branch. And if you have opted for remote banking, ask for it to be sent by registered mail. A service generally paying (7 euros on average) but which allows to benefit from the delivery in person.

  1. Keep your checkbooks in a safe place

The check is obviously one of the items that should not be left lying around. Never forget it, for example, in your car, even if it is locked. At your home, avoid having several checkbooks in advance. If this is the case, do not hesitate to keep them under lock and key. And above all, never store your check forms in the same place as your identity documents.

  1. Be rigorous in the way you write your checks

The forging of checks is one of the techniques used by fraudsters, who do not hesitate to modify the amount or the beneficiary. To avoid this, be very rigorous in the way you write your checks:

  • Use a non-erasable black ink pen;
  • Indicate the amount in figures with a comma and cents, even if the amount to be paid is a round number: € 100.00 rather than € 100 for example;
  • Do not leave spaces at the beginning of each line, draw a horizontal line after entering the amount in words and the name of the beneficiary;
  • Do not cross out;
  • Take care of your signature.
  1. Immediately endorse any checks received.

When you receive a check, your first instinct should be to check that all the information necessary for its collection is included and is correct:

The amount in figures and especially in words, the latter being proof in the event of inconsistency;

The current date: it is prohibited by law to backdate or post-date a check;

Your name as beneficiary: if the line is left blank, you can however fill it in yourself;

Signature.

Endorse it immediately, writing your account number, date and signature on the back. And do not delay in collecting it, ideally in an agency. If you opt for sending by mail, remember to note its characteristics (formula number, bank, amount, etc.), to facilitate searches in the event of loss.

  1. Never delay in filing an objection in the event of loss or theft

Have you lost your checkbook? Was it stolen from you? You are not the originator of a payment by check on your account statement? You are then entitled to oppose a check or the entire checkbook. To do this, call your bank immediately. And then do not forget to confirm your opposition request in writing. To facilitate the process, remember to write down and keep in a safe place the check form numbers as soon as they come into your possession.

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