• Check Fraud—A National Epidemic
• Identity Theft
• Check Fraud Prevention—Best Practices 4
• Check 21 & Check Fraud
• A Primer on Laser Printing
• Check Security Features
• High Security Checks
• Holder in Due Course
• Cyber Crime
• Preventing Embezzlement
Inside this Issue
CHECK FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT, VOLUME 7
GREG LITSTER, EDITOR
FRANKLY SPEAKING . . .
he fastest growing financial
crimes in America today are
check fraud and identity theft.
The Nilson Report estimates check
fraud losses to be about $20 billion a year.
The American Bankers Association has stated
check fraud is growing 25 percent per year.
Check fraud gangs are hardworking and
creative. They constantly try new techniques
to beat the banking system and steal money.
Historically, the banks have been liable for
these losses. However, changes in the
Uniform Commercial Code now share the loss
with the depositor.
The Federal Trade Commission reported
that nearly 15 million Americans have been
victims of identity theft, costing consumers $5
billion and banks and businesses $56 billion
every year. Because this crime is so simple to
commit, I believe identity theft will become one
of the most profitable criminal activities in
There are endless opportunities for a
criminal to obtain the necessary information to
commit identity theft. Let me illustrate just
two, beginning with your visit to a doctor. As a
new patient, the receptionist asks you to
complete a form that asks for your name,
address, phone number, and your employer’s
name, address and phone, and your health
history. They copy your insurance card, which
includes your Social Security number. Your
co-pay is paid with a check drawn on your
bank account. You have just provided enough
information for someone to become you.
Another example. You walk into an
upscale department store to make a purchase.
You take your selection to the cashier and
write a check. On that check is your name,