Check Washing Money Fraud- chemical that removes ink from checks
What is check washing?
Check washing is an old school style of money fraud. Anyone who saw the movie "Catch Me if you Can" saw what check washing was. The question is, does check washing happen today? Absolutely! Consumers make it easy for thieves to steal checks and then wash them. What they do is place a piece of tape over your signature then using a common household chemical that removes ink, they wash the check in the solution until all that is left is your signature protected under tape. After removing the tape, the thief now has a signed blank check to fill out with a new amount made payable to the thief (who is usually using a stolen identity).
How do I help theives raid my bank account?
The first thing is making your checks accessible. Thieves roam around neighborhoods looking for those little red flags that are "up". It is much like an unintended invitation to criminals to look inside your box and take your outgoing mail. This is especially prevalent at the first of the month when bills are often due.
Using checks bought from the back of a magazine
Another way we help thieves is by purchasing unsecured checks. When you buy checks from the back of magazines for $6 a box is not a very good idea. They are printed on simple paper. Checks purchased from your bank may cost more, but there are reasons. Checks bought from banks have security measures built in (secret and obvious) much like the kind of paper money is printed on. Bank checks are more secure.
How to prevent check fraud
The two things you can do if you still need to use checks is to use a gel based permanent ink pen to fill out your checks. the other thing is to never put checks in the outgoing mail box. Instead, take them directly to the Post Office.
Money fraud from stealing and then washing checks is still a crime that thieves rely on to make their living off of your hard earned income.