It’s estimated that more than 15 million Americans are victims of identity theft and fraud every year, totaling over $50 billion in damages. And one method of payment that’s vulnerable to such attacks is the personal check. Personal checks are a viable payment option, but it’s important to ensure that you’re taking the proper safety measures when it comes to this method of payment. Here are five tips for writing checks:
- Always use black ink: Black ink sets into the check paper and makes it harder for criminals to alter. Many thieves turn to check washing to alter checks, which is when chemicals are used to erase parts of the check, such as the payment amount. Black ink makes this difficult to do. For a bonus tip, try to use either a gel ink or fountain filled pen.
- Voiding: If you make a mistake writing a check, it’s crucial to make it unusable in case it falls into the wrong hands. So write “Void” across it and tear it in half. Then, either store it in a safe place or run it through a paper shredder.
- Dollar amounts: When you write in the dollar amount on the check, always place the first numeral close to the dollar sign. This ensures that nobody can alter it and add in more than what you’re writing the check for. The same goes for the space where you write out the amount.
- Memo line: Use this to make notes about what you’re writing checks on. But refrain from writing your social security number or any other important details in this space.
- Recording: Always record the check. This gives you a record of exactly what you wrote it for, when you wrote it and how much it was. It can be a crucial piece of evidence if something were to go wrong along the way.