Protect Yourself From Checking Account Fraud!

Nowadays with so many transactions being completed online, it is easy for a criminal who is computer savvy to steal your information and get into your bank account.  All a criminal needs to do is to open a bank account either online or at a branch, steal your information and steal your money. Lifelock, an identity theft company, guarantees you protection against check take over fraud for a small price.  There are also some things you can do to protect yourself against check take over fraud so that you will not end up losing your identity and losing your money.


Make sure your online bank account password is hard to crack

Many people use passwords that they can easily remember such as your child's name, your pet's name, your spouse's name or date of birth.  To make it harder for an identity thief to crack your security code, make your security code to access your bank account hard to crack.  Your security code should include numbers, letter, upper, and lower case letter as well as symbols.  Although thieves can still use a computer password cracking software to try and crack your code, the harder you make it for them to crack your code, the better.

Never Have Check Mailed To You Unless You Sign For It

Having checks left in your mailbox is almost like giving these criminals free access to your checking account.  Many of these criminals go through mail boxes and your trash in order to get you bank account information. If they find blank checks, that's like hitting the lottery.


Ask Your Bank To Issue You Checks That Have Safety Features That Deter Alteration By Counterfeiters

Many banks have these checks because of the increasing rate of check fraud and bank accounts being wiped out by counterfeiters.  Ask your bank to give you these types of security checks instead of regular checks.

Keep Your Checks In A Secure Place

Treat your checks money! In essence, it is money, so be careful where you store it.  Check your checks regularly to make sure they are all there.  Sometimes thieves will take checks from the middle of your check book so you won't know or it takes longer for you to detect lost checks. 

Check Your Account Online Regularly

Always check your bank account and reconcile your bank statements monthly.  This way you know if any money is disappearing from your account or if any checks are being cashed without your permission.  Notify your bank immediately if you see anything suspicious! Better safe than sorry.

Be Careful About Giving Out Your Bank Account Number Online or Over The Phone

Unless it is an official place of business or the government, you should not give out your bank account information over the phone.  Get the names and employee identification number of everyone you give your bank account information to.  They may work for official companies, but they are still people.  This way you know everyone you give your information to in case you need to make a list for the police.

Shred old and canceled checks, account statements and deposit slips that you don't need for tax purposes

You really should shred this type of information if you are no longer using it.  If you do not want to shred it, then at least keep them in a locked file cabinet or a locked home safe.


Don't Leave Bills Inside Your Mailbox For The Mailman To Pick Up

Do not list your social security number, driver’s license number or telephone number on
your checks. Many people leave bills with their checks sticking out of their mail boxes so the mail man can pick it up.  This is a bad idea and a flag to check thieves that "I need to take a look at what's in this mailbox."  It is easy for a criminal to open the bills, take off your checking information, re-seal the envelope and put it back in the mailbox.  Put your bills directly in a mailbox or mail them at the post office.


Hire A Company or Lawyer to Help Guard You Against Check Take Over Fraud

Companies like Lifelock, an identity theft company, has special protection plans that cover check take over fraud.  Many banks now offer this feature, so ask your bank if they have a check fraud monitoring system.


Contact Your Bank AND The Police If You Suspect Your Are A Victim Of Checking Account Takeover Fraud

Protect yourself and your identity and report suspicious activities immediately.  Your bank can put a check fraud lock on your account and the police can investigate the matter.  The quicker you do this, the more headache you save yourself and you could help catch a thief and prevent him or her from doing it to someone else.