A Check(ered) Past
More than $10 billion per year is lost to check fraud and counterfeiting, according to the National Check Fraud Center. And in a troubled economy where fraud is expected to rise, businesses must do whatever they can to keep checks as secure as possible.
John Labrant, regional sales manager for Springfield, Virginia-based SICPA, said the current state of the economy has many companies noticing more crime and fraud.
"SICPA continues to be busy providing additional security for checks, passports, ID cards, vital records, tax stamps and just about anything that can be counterfeited for financial gain in lean economic times," he added.
Robin Johnson, a marketing representative with Canoga Park, California-based SAFEChecks, recognizes this growing concern, as well. "Check fraud is by far the most dominant form of payment fraud and produces the greatest losses," she noted. "Check fraud accounts for 80 percent of all payment fraud, or four times all other payment fraud combined. Companies are becoming more convinced that the only viable solution is to prevent the crime in the first place."
To combat check fraud, companies are trying to perfect the latest and greatest technology available to the marketplace. SAFEChecks, for example, is focusing on laser check writing software. The company's most recent security advancement is a relatively new, state-of-the-art encrypted barcode technology that is laser printed on the face of the check, Johnson said.
She explained the barcode contains all of the critical information on a check, including payee name, dollar amount, check number, routing and account number and issue date. The barcode data is "read" using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and compared with the printed information on the check. "If the information on the check does not match, the check can be rejected," Johnson noted. This barcode is image survivable, meaning it can be read as an electronic image as well as on the original check."