Pay Your Bills Differently

Is It Time to Pay Your Bills Differently?

Check usage has been declining for decades while check fraud has recently been on the rise at alarming rates. Check fraud criminals are no longer a small-time business, it is sophisticated and successful.

Some eye-opening statistics:

  • The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners report that U.S. Businesses will lose an average of 5% of their gross annual revenues to fraud or $3.7 Trillion each year.
  • According to the 2023 AFP Payments Fraud & Control Survey, report 65% of organizations were victims of payments fraud attacks/attempts in 2022 (71% in 2021). Physical checks are the most vulnerable.
  • Small businesses have ranked the highest in fraud frequency according to Business Fraud Prevention. Likely because they think they are too small for a fraudster to consider.

The most common check theft involves “Check Washers”. Criminals utilize chemicals to remove the original ink to replace the payee and often the dollar amount.  Fraudsters may copy and print washed checks for multiple uses or even sell them to third-party criminals.  Remember, checks have your bank routing and account number on them!!!!

Some best practices to consider:

Positive Pay or Reverse Positive Pay (Checks & ACH)

Positive Pay is one of the best prevention tools available. The check issuer transmits a file containing information about the checks it has issued to the bank. Positive Pay compares the account number, the check number, and the dollar amount against the list of checks issued and authorized.  All must match exactly, or it becomes an exception item that must be reviewed by the business owner or designated internal representative.

Online Bill Pay

bill pay sends your payment electronically to the receiver, or a check if necessary but the check does not include your signature.

Other Practices

Review bank account data daily, reconcile often, utilize account alerts, and use a dedicated computer to pay bills.  If you must send checks, use a black gel pen with indelible ink that seeps into the check fibers, making washing more difficult.  Also, mail the checks from the post office to avoid stand-alone boxes where scammers can fish for checks.

Meet with our team of experienced bankers to help you better prevent check fraud.