Know Your Enemy
Celebrity blunders and political scandals arguably are comedy gold. But the climbing rate of check fraud is one hot topic that's no joke.
The 2011 AFP (Association for Finance Professionals) Payments Fraud and Control Survey showed 71 percent of the participating organizations experienced attempted or actual payments fraud in 2010. Checks by far were the primary payment form targeted by criminals. According to the survey, an astounding 93 percent of affected organizations reported their checks had been targeted. To provide some perspective, the percentages of organizations affected by alternate methods of payment fraud were:
• ACH debit (25 percent)
• Consumer credit/debit cards (23 percent)
• Corporate/commercial cards (15 percent)
• ACH credits (4 percent)
• Wire transfers (4 percent)
Incidences of check fraud show no signs of slowing down, particularly in the business-to-business marketplace. J.J. Sorrenti, president of Dallas-based Safeguard Business Systems, Inc., believes the troubled economy will continue to influence the increasing number of fraud cases.
"Crime, in general, tends to run counter to the economy, so a weak economy contributes to an increase in theft—and checks are a common target," he said. "Safeguard is seeing more customer interest in protection and prevention, and has taken steps over the years to incorporate added layers of security in the paper, inks, packaging, ordering and shipping processes. Currently, we are adding new services to assist with monitoring and recovery, including business identity restoration, to help customers recover in the event of fraud."
Sorrenti went on to say that Safeguard offers up to 22 standard security features on its checks. Customers can stick with basic features such as chemical-sensitive paper, warning borders and security backers to thermochromic ink, true watermarks and toner adhesion. They also can take the more advanced route with foil holograms that have embedded features, including nano-text and light-refracting alternating images.