Cheque fraud ‘prevalent’

2012-07-23 12:59

Bank customers should be wary of scams involving cheque fraud, the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has said in a statement.

Despite the noticeable decline in cheque usage, various scams were being devised by perpetrators to defraud cheque users especially where business transactions took place, Sabric said today.

A business would be approached with an urgent order and promised payment, supported by a cash deposit or proof of an electronic payment.

The payment would then be made with a fraudulent cheque, leaving the business out of pocket.

Sabric CEO Kalyani Pillay said it was crucial that payments be made in cash, or if by cheque the recipient should wait for the cheque to clear before releasing any goods.

The centre said: “In some cases, banks are noticing incidents where pages of business cheques are removed from cheque books and then presented by fraudsters for large cash withdrawals.”

It was not unusual for staff at those business to collude with perpetrators, with directors’ signatures forged.

“Sabric advises bank customers to keep their cheque books in a safe place at all times, and to immediately report lost and stolen cheques.”

The centre advised to keep returned cheques in a secure place, complete payee details in full and write the amount in figures as closely as possible, and include the account number in the payee line when making account payments.

Other advice included using crossings appropriately, always marking crossed cheques “not transferable”, regularly reconciling bank statements, and using alternative payment methods.

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