Stolen Personal Checks
What to do if your Checks are Stolen

Blank checks are very attractive to identity thieves even though they have become less common in recent times.

There are several reasons:

  • Credit and debit cards have become more popular for their convenience.
  • Credit card companies offer incentives to use them, in the form of cash backs and other bonus schemes, that checks do not offer.
  • Electronic funds transfers, often automated, are an easier way to pay bills.
  • Checks are manually processed, which incurs bank handling charges.
  • Checks in some places incur fees and taxes (e.g. stamp duty) carried over from the past but not applied to more recent payment methods.
  • Checks are less secure than other forms of payment and therefore less readily accepted.
  • Checks can take some time to clear.

However, checks are still widely used, and many people still have a check book as a means of payment as a backup to use in some circumstances. For example, rather than give your child cash to take to school to pay for a day trip, it can be safer to send them off with a crossed check that is of no use to anyone other than the intended user.

An identity thief in possession of your check book, and some form of proof of identity in your name that he has also stolen from you, is all set to go on a buying spree at your expense. With enough practice he will probably be able to forge a sufficiently passable signature to get by at a busy shop, especially if it just has to match the faded one on your stolen credit card, for example. Provided he acts in a credible manner, and chooses businesses that still do accept checks, your bank account will soon be cleaned out.

Even if your credit card has been cancelled, it can still be useful to a check thief to use as proof of identity because the card is not actually used. Retailers who accept cards as proof of identity may just note down the card number as a way to follow you up if there is a problem, and compare the signature. A card bearing your photograph is, of course, more difficult to use in this way.

It is not uncommon for a thief to leave you with your check book but to just tear out a few checks from further down the book. This can happen if the thief only gets possession of your check book briefly. You are unlikely to notice. If the thief is taking other things at the same time and you detect the theft, you will put your effort into canceling missing credit cards, or dealing with whatever else has been stolen, but you may ignore doing anything about your checks because your check book is still there. The thief may wait a month or so before using these stolen checks, after the heat has died down. You may not even immediately notice several spaced out transactions for modest amounts coming out of your bank account.

If you believe you have lost your check book, or any individual blank checks, you should report this immediately to your bank, and put a stop on these checks. There may be a bank fee to do this, which is a further reason to make sure your checks are kept secure at all times.

 Information Security and ID Theft
 What Identity Theft is About
 How Identity Theft Works
 Signs of Identity Theft
 Identity Theft Credit Repair
 Identity Theft in the UK
 Type of Identity Theft
 Why People Commit ID Theft
 Criminal Identity Theft
 Information About Identity
 Passport Identity Theft
Credit Card ID Theft
 Credit Card Identity Theft
 Pre Approved Credit Cards
 Debit and ATM Card Identity Theft
ID Theft In Business
 Business Identity Theft
 Access Code Identity Theft
Identity Theft On The Internet
 Identity Theft Phishing
 Online Identity Theft
Protecting Against ID Theft
 Learn Identity Theft Protection
 Guard Against Identity Theft
 Need Identity Theft Protection
Document Shredders
 Cross Cut Paper Shredders
 Confetti Paper Shredder
 Heavy Duty Paper Shredder
 Paper Shredders Office Use
 Cross Cut CD Shredder
Identity Theft Reporting
 Identity Theft Reporting
 How to Report Identity Theft
 Report Stolen Credit Cards
 Stolen Personal Checks
 Credit Reporting Agencies