Cheque fraud

The financial services industry is highly regulated when it comes to cheque processing, and Vancity works closely with Central 1 Credit Union, the central credit union that processes and clears cheques deposited into member accounts. 

The cheque clearing system is very complex, and hundreds of thousands of cheques are cleared without a problem each day. In a typical year, Central 1 processes over 121 million paper clearing items and 263 million electronic clearing items on behalf of credit unions and their corporate clients.

One important way consumers can be vigilant about avoiding counterfeit cheques is to be aware of who they are accepting cheques from, and to not spend the money until the cheque has been cleared through the financial institution it is being drawn upon. You can also try going to a branch of the financial institution where the cheque was issued (e.g. Vancity, or another bank or credit union) to determine if there are sufficient funds in the account.

While more and more people are banking electronically, it is as important as ever to avoid fraud when writing or depositing cheques.

Here’s how:

  • Use cheques less often and opt for electronic payments like wire payments, direct deposit and pre-authorized payments instead.
  • Use high-quality cheques with security features. Davis and Henderson cheques meet all of Vancity's security standards.
  • When you issue a cheque, keep the stub or write the amount, date and beneficiary down.
  • Keep cheque stock in a secure location— never leave them in a vehicle or area where they can be easily obtained.
  • Regularly check the number order of your cheque book—thieves may steal cheques from the middle or back of your cheque book to conceal the theft.
  • Order only one set of cheques for an account.
  • When writing cheques use non-erasable ink and don’t leave blank spaces.
  • Don't leave the payee blank and avoid making a cheque payable to "cash."
  • When re-ordering cheques, use a continuous set of serial numbers.
  • Choose envelopes that make cheques hard to detect while in transit. This helps to minimize the risk of cheques being intercepted.
  • If you close an account, destroy your cheques by shredding or burning them, or take them to your financial institution.
  • Reconcile your statements as soon as they are received and report any discrepancies immediately.

If you think or suspect your cheques have been lost or stolen, or that someone is using your cheques fraudulently, contact our Member Services Centre at 604.877.7000 or toll free at 1.888.Vancity (826.2489) or your branch immediately. 

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