Check Fraud and RDC: What About Bob?

by J_Pratt

Writing a Check

So you and your buddy, Bob, decide to meet for lunch. And you wind up in a “cash only” place. Bob doesn’t have any cash on him, so you cover lunch. Bob writes you a check to pay for his half. Then you both go back to work.

Because your bank has this great new service that lets you deposit checks into your account using your mobile phone (or maybe your scanner and email service), you don’t have to stop at the bank to deposit that check. You take a picture of the front and back, send the pictures to your bank and voilá the money is deposited into your account!

In the banking world this is known as “Remote Deposit Capture,” or RDC, and it’s one of the many new processes that help speed up the U.S. check clearing process. Only one thing left for you to do, and that’s to decide what you are going to do with Bob’s paper check.

Take a look at that check. You hold valuable pieces of Bob’s identity in your hands. This is information that criminals would love to get their hands on. If you do not dispose of that check properly, you may become responsible for Bob’s “identity theft,” the takeover of his checking account, and worse.

Hopefully you are already destroying all papers that contain any of your personal information–your name, address, social security number, identification numbers, bank account numbers, etc., when you no longer need them.

In today’s electronic payments world you may find yourself with new responsibilities–protection of the personal information of others. Be a real friend and extend to others the same protection as you would want for your information:

  1. Keep Bob’s check safe until you are sure that your bank has given you credit for it.
  2. After it has been credited to your account, thoroughly destroy the check–shred it, burn it or tear it into itty bitty pieces before throwing it away.
  3. If you haven’t already invested in a cross-cut paper shredder for your own protection purposes, now might be the time to do so. You can test it out with Bob’s check.

If he knew, Bob would thank you.