Entries in Checks (3)


Check Fraud Declining, But Debit Card Crimes on the Rise

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- During a year that saw a record rise in financial crime reports, one scam that has plagued banks and consumers for decades is fading away: check fraud.

Reports of suspected counterfeiting, check fraud and check kiting were among the financial crimes that saw declines during 2011, dropping 7.5 percent from 2010.  The drop in check fraud came as the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) had a record number of suspicious activity reports (SARs) in 2011 throughout the financial industry.

The number of check-related suspected crimes peaked in 2008, with banks sending 152,874 suspicious activity reports to FinCEN.  From there, the cases are investigated by federal, state or local authorities, depending on the amount of money involved in the crime.

Since 2008, the number of check-related crimes has dropped to 107,041.  The drop in check fraud numbers points to a trend many Americans are familiar with -- the slow disappearance of checks.

The use of checks as a form of payment has been declining in recent years.  Personal check use has dropped by 12 percent among consumers between 2008 and 2010, according to the American Bankers Association (ABA).

In dollar amounts, check fraud losses have declined from $1.02 billion in 2008 to $893 million in 2010, according to data from the ABA's 2011 Deposit Account Fraud Survey Report.

Meanwhile, the use of debit cards has increased, and with it, debit card-related crime.

From 2006 to 2009, the use of debit cards as a form of payment rose 14 percent among Americans, while debit card crimes rose 41 percent, according to data from the Federal Reserve and FinCEN.

The number of suspected debit card frauds each year is still significantly lower than suspected check crimes, with total debit card fraud accounting for just 6,258 suspicious activity reports from banks in 2011 -- the highest number of debit crimes ever reported. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


B of A Rejects Checks from Bride Who Kept Last Name

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- A newlywed couple in Albany, N.Y., ran into everything but a honeymoon when Bank of America refused to let a bride who kept her last name cash their gift checks.

Pete Iorizzo, news and sports writer for the Albany Times-Union newspaper, and his wife received some checks as wedding gifts made out to “Mr. and Mrs. Peter Iorizzo.”

Iorizzo said he endorsed the checks, specified “for deposit only” on them and gave them to his wife to deposit into their joint account.

After she went to a local Bank of America branch and handed them to a teller, he said she was denied.

The bank said there was no way around the dilemma, even rejecting their offer for a copy of their marriage license, according to Iorizzo.

He said one bank employee even said, “Mrs. Peter Iorizzo does not exist.” The couple was told their checks were void and they would have to request new checks from their guests.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America said she could not discuss customer accounts.

Iorizzo said he called the bank the following day and spoke to an assistant manager and then a manager who gave them the same answer. The manager said a family member also chose not to change her name but requested that anyone writing a check as a gift make it out to “Cash.”

The problem was eventually worked around after two days and frustrating phone calls when his wife drove to another branch and cashed the checks without incident, he said. That teller noticed the checks were from a wedding and said, “Congratulations.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Electronic Payments on the Rise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At least 75 percent of all non-cash payments in the United States are now made electronically, says a new report by the Federal Reserve.

With the exception of credit cards, all types of electronic payments increased from 2006-2009, according to the nation’s central banks.

Meanwhile, the paper check -- once the gold standard of non-cash payments -- has slid to under 25 percent of transactions.  The Fed also reports that debit cards have now replaced credit cards as the most-used non-cash instrument.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio