Crime alert: Check washing

As part of VRSA’s commitment to service, we are notifying members of an increase in check-washing fraud.

Check-washing involves bad actors stealing validly executed checks and “washing” the ink to alter the payee information and /or payment amount. Victims are often left unaware of the malicious activity until they see the transaction or are contacted for payment.

To protect your entity:

  1. Consider electronic payment – we understand this comes with risks as well.*
  2. Examine adding a layer of protection. Positive Pay is an automated cash-management service used to deter check fraud. We encourage members to include “payee” information.
  3. Use only gel pens with black ink.
  4. Follow up on issued checks to ensure funds were received and deposited.
  5. Review your account statements each month.
  6. Place outgoing mail in a secured mailbox shortly before pickup.

If your entity falls victim to check washing:

If an incident does occur, immediately:

  1. Contact your banking institution.
  2. File a police report with the Virginia State Police.
  3. Once you have completed these steps, please promptly contact VRSA to file a claim online or by phone: 800-963-6800.

* Please consider updating policies and procedures for electronic payments.

VRSA is here to protect our members and their employees so they can effectively serve their communities. If you have questions, contact us at: 800-963-6800.