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Business Owner Beware: Credit Card and Check Fraud

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Credit Card Fraud

  • Train employees to follow each credit card company’s authorization procedures.
  • Be skeptical of a customer with only one credit card and one piece of identification.
  • Be aware of the customer who makes several small purchases by check or credit card that are under the amount for manager approval.
  • Is the item being purchased one that could be easily fenced for cash? (Examples include televisions, stereos, cameras, and other portable items.)
  • If you are suspicious of the purchaser, make a note of appearance, companions, any vehicle used, and identification presented. Call your local police department.
  • Look for “ghost” numbers or letters. Many times criminals will change the numbers and/or name on a stolen card. To do this they either melt the original name and numbers off or file them off. Both of these processes can leave faint imprints of the original characters.
  • Examine the signature strip on the credit card. A criminal may cover the real card owner’s signature with “White-Out” and sign it on the new strip.
  • Check to see if the signature on the card compares favorably with the signature on the sales slip.

Source: Credit Card and Computer Fraud, published by the Department of the Treasury, United States Secret Service.

Check Fraud

Many fraudulent checks are visibly phony. By paying close attention to a check’s appearance, you can often detect a possible bad check before accepting it as payment. When you see one or more of the following telltale signs, you may be looking at a phony check. Protect yourself against possible losses by requiring management approval of the check or asking for an alternative form of payment.

Watch out for the following:

  • Having no perforation on check edges
  • Any altered writing or erasures
  • Water spots or alterations of check’s color or graphic background
  • Checks Numbered under 500 (new account)
  • Post-dated checks
  • Glossy rather than dull finish of magnetic ink
  • Signature does not match imprinted name and ID
The above is an excerpt adapted from the article,”Small Business Crime Prevention.” For more information, please visitwww.lapdonline.org.
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