Do you work in the business world? Do you find yourself frequently handling money, credit cards, debit cards, and checks? If so, you likely take precaution in making sure that a check is valid, but can you really always determine this? No, not always. Here are some tips for helping you recognize a forged check:
Light writing. When you see extremely light writing on any check, this needs to serve as a big, red flag. A seasoned check forger knows to alter the handwriting to help avoid the police matching it up to his/her usual handwriting. You can ask for identification, but this doesn’t seem to deter a check forger.
Check-cashing excuses. Often times, a check forger obtains a check from someone else and forges payment to himself/herself for work as a handy man. The check forger then hits up a small business (such as a restaurant) on an evening or a weekend about wanting to do business there, but such business would require a cashing of the forged check.
*Don’t buy it. Politely decline. The small amount of business is not worth the risk of cashing a forged check. Let the person with the check wait until the bank is open to get the check cashed. Even if you know the person, you’re still taking a risk. Explain the circumstances to the potential customer, but don’t cash the check.
Pattern of behavior. A check forger knows how to schmooze (so to speak) a business owner. A check forger will gladly give his/her license and even offer up the license plate to his/her car. It really doesn’t matter to the check forger. His/her goal is to get the money from the cash register to his/her pocket, so don’t get caught believing such behavior.
Too, a check forger will often travel with (what looks to be) a family. A check forger seems more believable if the check forger has a child in tow. Watch for behavior that camouflages or conceals, such as pulling a hat down low on the head or standing in the background. Both types of behavior ought to serve as red flags for the check possibly not being legitimate.
Prior approval. A check forger does his/her best to appear to be on the up and up. The check forger may even call the owner/manager of the business to get prior approval. Why would an owner/manager approve such check cashing? Because the check forger convinces the owner/manager that the check is legitimate.
*This sounds absurd, but it happens frequently. A check forger knows his/her business well, so don’t get duped.
Two-party check. If a person wants you to cash a two-party check, don’t. A check forger can steal a check and write it for the amount that he/she wants. Remember, don’t buy the idea that the person wants to shop/eat at the business because this could be a ploy. Shopping/eating is not a life-or-death situation, so let the person wait until morning to cash his/her check.
*Don’t get stuck with a forged check.