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How to Use Checks Safely & Securely

How to Use Checks Safely and Securely

Did you know that 1.2 million fraudulent checks are written each day? Today more than ever, it's important to educate yourself on check safety and how to practice it daily.

These tips will teach you how to use a check securely:

  • How to Void a Check. A voided check means that a check that has been disabled and is no longer available to cash or deposit. To void a check, write the word "VOID" clearly in large letters on the face of the check. It is a good practice to write "VOID" in two places; first, in the payment amount box and, second, in the signature line. This will disable anyone from filling out these vital components. Make sure that you also record the check as voided in your register.

  • How to Cancel a Check. To cancel a check, you must contact your financial institution. They will request an oral or written request to stop payment. You will need to have the check number and amount of the check ready when submitting this request. To be sure that the check was cancelled, request confirmation from your financial institution. A cancellation fee from your financial institution may apply.

  • Post-Dating. Post-dating a check means writing a future date on the check. This often occurs when someone wants the recipient of the check to wait until a later date to cash or deposit the check. When giving a post-dated check to someone, coordinate the date with them to ensure that it will be cashed or deposited in a timely manner. When receiving a post-dated check, make sure that it's from someone you trust. It is illegal to write a post-dated check knowing that the funds will not be available. In certain cases, be aware that you may be able to cash or deposit a post-dated check prior to the future date if necessary.

  • Ordering Checks Securely. When ordering checks, confirm that all your information is accurate. This includes your name, address, account number, and routing number. Never provide your social security number as part of placing an online or direct mail check order. Make sure that the website you're ordering checks from begins with https instead of http, which helps to ensure the server is secure and contains a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) with a digital certificate from a third-party vendor such as GlobalSign. You may also want to consider adding a security service to your check order, such as SentryShieldSM. Reputable companies such as Checks Unlimited will utilize these safety features in addition to others.

  • Sending Checks in the Mail Safely. When sending a check in the mail, make sure to always write in the name of the payee. This first step makes it difficult for someone else to cash or deposit the check. Next, conceal the check within the envelope. This can be easily achieved by folding a piece of paper around it. Also, dropping the letter off at a post office rather than leaving it in the outgoing mail of your home is another safety tip. Additional steps may also be taken such as utilizing a tracking service or disabling the check from being cashed by endorsing it as "deposit only" on the back so it can only be deposited into a bank account.

  • Safe Disposal or Shredding of Checks. Prior to disposing a check, it is a good idea to redact the personal information and account information on your check, making such information obscure and unreadable. To help you with this, see Guard Your ID Stamp. When it comes to disposing of checks, another idea is to shred them. This quick and easy step will help to protect you from identity theft. If shredding is unavailable, you may cut up the check, but make sure to cut lengthwise through personal and private information such as your name, account number, and routing number. For extra security, dispose of the clippings separately to make it more difficult for anyone attempting to piece them together.

We're happy you're here and hope this article helped you learn about checks! To discover even more about why checks are a great choice, continue reading with these articles: