Cheque fraud

Cheque fraud is a common form of financial crime. There are three main types:

  • counterfeit: when fake cheques are used that are not written or authorized by legitimate account holders
  • forgery: when stolen cheques are signed by someone other than the account holders
  • fraudulent/altered: when cheques are issued by account holders, and then intercepted and altered to change the beneficiary or amount.

A typical cheque fraud scam is where someone sends you a cheque, asks you to deposit the money in your account and then requests you forward most of the funds by wire transfer or money order somewhere else. Examples of where this can occur include a job posting for an Internet collection agent, a lottery or inheritance notification, or overpayment for something you're selling where you’re asked to return the extra funds.

Cheque fraud is one of the riskiest types of fraud for members, as you will be held liable (under the terms of the Vancity Account Services Guide) for any credits deposited to your account from a fraudulent cheque.

What we do to protect you

Vancity has built our reputation on doing the right thing. The moment our members detect a cheque fraud (or any other type of fraud) may have occurred, they should report it to us immediately. If you’re not sure whether a cheque is valid or not, bring the cheque with you to the branch and let us know about your concerns, and we’ll check on the validity of the cheque for you. We have systems in place and work with the authorities to shut down fraud or a breach of security immediately.

We also use high quality Davis and Henderson cheques for Vancity members, which include special security features and meet all of Vancity's strict security standards.

Top five things you can do to avoid cheque fraud

  • Be aware of who you are accepting cheques from, and do not spend money from any cheque until the money has been cleared from the financial institution (bank or credit union) the cheque is being drawn upon.
  • Use cheques less often, and opt for electronic payments like wire payments, direct deposit and pre-authorized payments instead.
  • Keep your cheques in a secure location— never leave them in a vehicle or area where they can be easily obtained.
  • Reconcile your statements as soon as they are received and report any discrepancies immediately.
  • If you suspect your cheques may be lost or stolen, notify us immediately.

For more information on how to prevent cheque fraud, visit our full section on cheque fraud.

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