How to identify a fake check

Written by pat smith
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How to identify a fake check
Many personal checks have images or colourful backgrounds. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Fake checks, with incorrect information on them, are one of the leading types of check fraud. Cashing a fake check through your bank will usually cost you at least £16, plus losing the amount of the check when the money doesn't clear. It's important to know how to identify a fake check so you can avoid being taken advantage of. The general rule is that if you don't know the person or the check seems suspicious, only accept cash or a secure online transfer of money.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Phone
  • Magnifying glass

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  1. 1

    Look at the edges of the check. Most personal checks have one perforated edge, and some business checks are perforated on all sides. If there are no perforated edges, there's a higher chance of it being a fake check.

  2. 2

    Check for misspellings or errors, and check the phone number and address against a phone book (an online phone book if the location is far away). Call the phone number and see if the person whose name is on the check answers; if so, ask a few questions to determine if the check is legitimate.

  3. 3

    Scan the dollar amounts on the check carefully with a magnifying glass for evidence of tampering. Commonly, with fake checks, people carefully change some of the numbers to make a real check valued at a higher amount. Also check the name the check is written to for signs of changes, or someone having written over the original text. Any of these edits can point to a fake check.

  4. 4

    Call the bank listed on the check and ask it to verify the information. Even if it's a real account, the check could be bad. If possible, go to the bank in question so a teller can verify the check before you hand over the merchandise you're selling or try to deposit the check.

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