Think about it this way: A dedicated criminal wanting to get into your checking account has to spend thousands of dollars on an RFID skimmer, a device to crack your PIN, and other technological marvels out of a “Mission: Impossible” movie, but when they get access, our fraud protection kicks in after only a very small expenditure. So, why would a criminal spend thousands of dollars when they could get the same benefits from spending $5 on a blunt object with which to threaten you physically? Why steal RFID signals out of the air when you can pick pockets and shop online? Why go high-tech and hassle with all our security experts when a criminal can go low-tech and wait for you to slip up?
Check fraud is still a major problem, and it could get worse as EMV chips and software security make ATM and point of sale transactions more secure. Check fraud is an umbrella term for a variety of strategies scammers use, ranging from creating blank checks on computer software to stealing and using old checkbooks. Your checkbook is a source of fraud vulnerability for many of these strategies, but the ways to protect yourself are fairly simple.
1.) Treat your checkbook like cash. The easiest thing to do is to just not give thieves access to your checks. You wouldn’t put an envelope of cash in your mailbox with the flag up, would you? Then don’t do it with a utility check. If you’re going to mail a check, drop it into a blue USPS box on your way to work. You can also see what’s available to pay online. Our online services are really impressive, and if you set up an automatic payment through us or use our online banking, you never have to mail a check again.
2.) Balance your checkbook every month. It may seem like a chore, but balancing your checkbook is the easiest way to make sure you’re the only one spending your money. We have special buttons built into our online account view to make this as easy as possible. If you want a little personal guidance, come talk to us and we’ll walk you through the process. It’s easier than it looks. If it takes you forever every month, you might not be using all of our features! Call Destinations Credit Union at 410-663-2500 and we’ll help you make the process much easier.
3.) Destroy your old checkbooks and order new ones regularly. For whatever reason, you might have found yourself with old checks lying around. Maybe you were running low on checks and ordered a new checkbook but decided not to finish the old one because they came so quickly. Maybe you’ve moved and didn’t bother to finish the set with your old address. If that’s the case, destroy them. It’s worth the cost of a checkbook or the effort of a few minutes at the office shredder to keep from leaving yourself vulnerable. Also, don’t put your driver’s license number on the checks when you order them. It might take a few extra minutes at the register, but that inconvenience is a lot worse for a scammer holding your checkbook than it is for you. If you need to order a new checkbook, you can do it here: https://orderpoint.deluxe.com/personal-checks/home.htm.