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Report fraud: Check

Report fraud: Check

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If your check was stolen from the mail or counterfeited, it's crucial to take immediate action to minimize potential financial loss and to help prevent further fraudulent activity. 

Here are the steps you should follow to report check fraud:

  • Contact Your Financial Institution Immediately:  Inform your financial institution about the stolen or counterfeited check as soon as possible. Ask to speak with the fraud department and request that they stop payment on the check. Discuss with them the possibility of closing your current account and opening a new one to prevent further unauthorized transactions.
  • File a Police Report: Report the incident to your local police department. Provide them with all the details of the fraud, including any evidence you might have. Obtaining a police report can be helpful when dealing with financial institutions and creditors to prove the legitimacy of your claim. Here is a list of all police departments in the U.S.
  • Notify the Recipient: If the check was intended for a specific recipient (e.g., a vendor, a service provider), inform them of the situation. They need to be aware that the payment will be delayed or needs to be reissued through a different method.
  • File a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Report the incident to the FTC either online at or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC cannot resolve individual complaints, but filing a report can help law enforcement detect patterns of fraud and abuse, leading to investigations and prosecutions.
  • Report the Check Fraud to the Three Credit Reporting Bureaus:  This will help ensure your credit doesn't suffer and is particularly crucial if your ID was lost or stolen. Having a fraud alert placed on your account can prevent thieves from opening accounts in your name and ruining your credit. The three bureaus are:
    • Experian at 888-397-374
    • TransUnion at 800-680-728
    • Equifax at 800-525-6285
  • Alert the Postal Inspection Service: Since the check was stolen from the mail, report the theft to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which is responsible for investigating mail theft. You can file a complaint online at their website or contact them directly.

    Mail Fraud (including Foreign Lottery Scams)  

    Contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Criminal Investigations Service Center
  • Contact the Major Check Verification Companies: If you believe your check information has been used fraudulently or could be, consider contacting major check verification companies. These companies can flag your information, which can help prevent further fraudulent checks from being accepted by merchants.  These firms play a crucial role in helping businesses and financial institutions minimize the risks associated with accepting checks:
    • Certegy: Certegy is one of the largest check verification services, offering risk management solutions to businesses and financial institutions. They provide services that include check authorization and fraud prevention, helping retailers and banks decide whether to accept checks at the point of sale.
    • TeleCheck: TeleCheck services, owned by Fiserv, provide check processing and risk analysis to merchants and financial institutions. They offer solutions to reduce check-related fraud and ensure that transactions are legitimate.
    • ChexSystems: Primarily known for providing reports on consumer banking behavior, ChexSystems also offers fraud prevention and identity verification services to help institutions manage risk.

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