Business crime prevention advice: Cheque fraud

Business crime prevention advice: Cheque fraud

Cheques are easily obtained by thieves. Anyone accepting cheques should be on their guard. Verification is always necessary. Follow your in-house procedures.


  • Always ask courteously for photo identification such as driver's licence or passport. or bank cards.
  • Ask the customer to write his or her full name, address and phone number on the back of the cheque and sign it.
  • If in doubt about the cheque, get a special answer from the Bank prior to releasing the goods.
  • Don't judge by appearances. Men and women, young and old - no matter how well-dressed - can and do pass fraudulent cheques.
  • Professional confidence tricksters are often well dressed and charming, to help them succeed.
  • If you get a stolen or dishonoured cheque, preserve it in a paper envelope as there may be identifiable fingerprints on it.
  • Never put yourself at risk of personal harm to retain a suspicious cheque.

Things to look out for

  • Series number: Check to make sure you haven’t been notified that this cheque series is stolen or is being fraudulently negotiated.
  • Cash: Be wary of cheques made out to ‘cash’.
  • Name: Is this the same as the signature?
  • Not transferable or crossed cheques: Do not accept a cheque unless the presenter is the drawer.
  • Do not give change on cheques: Make sure the payment is for the goods only.
  • Branch: Is this a local cheque? If not, take down the registration number of the presenter’s vehicle.
  • Signature: Never accept a cheque signed by someone other than the person presenting it. If the cheque is already signed, get the presenter to sign the signature again on the back of the cheque and compare the signature to the one on the front of the cheque and against photographic identification for likeness. Record the details of identification produced on the back of the cheque.
  • Amount: Is the amount in figures the same as the written amount?
  • Date: Watch for stale cheques (older than six months) or post- dated cheques.