Content of the material
- Shopping and Donating
- Why Do These Scams Work?
- Who is responsible if a check is lost in the mail?
- 2. Use a Security Envelope for Checks
- How to cash or deposit an emailed check
- Time Involved in Sending Checks Through the Mail
- If Something Happens
- Have You Lost a Check?
- Using a Special Type of Letter
- Using Specific Info and Restricting the Check
- How to spot a fake check through email
- 3. Send Your First eCheck
- About This Article
Shopping and Donating
Make smart shopping decisions, know your rights, and solve problems when you shop or donate to charity.
Why Do These Scams Work?
These scams work because fake checks generally look just like real checks, even to bank employees. They are often printed with the names and addresses of legitimate financial institutions. They may even be real checks written on bank accounts that belong to identity theft victims. It can take weeks for a bank to figure out that the check is a fake.
Who is responsible if a check is lost in the mail?
In the case of most standard mail, the sender is responsible for any lost items. If you need to mail an important check, consider mailing it as Certified Mail and purchasing USPS insurance to make sure your item will be covered if it's lost.
2. Use a Security Envelope for Checks
Some envelopes are very thin and slightly transparent, making it easy to determine if there is a check inside. Consider buying some security envelopes, which are designed to conceal the contents of your mail. If you don’t have any, you can also simply enclose the check in a folded piece of paper before stuffing it in the envelope.
How to cash or deposit an emailed check
The process for cashing or depositing digital checks emailed through an approved solution, like the ones listed above, is only slightly different from cashing a regular paper check.
- A digital check is emailed and received.
- The check is then printed using an appropriate printer. Caution should be taken if printing to a shared printer!
- Cash or deposit the freshly-printed check the same way as a normal check, by either visiting a local bank or using their mobile banking app.
Many modern banks offer mobile check deposits through their mobile banking apps, including US Bank, Wells Fargo, Fifth Third, Bank of America, Chime, and several more.
Services such as Paynote and Deluxe offer instant digital check deposits by allowing recipients to enter their banking information through a secure online form without needing to register an account – very fast and convenient!
Time Involved in Sending Checks Through the Mail
Since checks are time-bound and sensitive documents, it is essential that they reach the recipients on time. Moreover, speedy deliveries help secure the check from criminals. The faster the delivery of the check, the less the chances of fraud. Therefore, before mailing a check, you should consider the time involved. For better convenience, contact your mailing vendor and request the estimated time taken to mail a document. The USPS has different mailing options – which you can select according to the urgency of your checks and your needs. If the idea of how to send checks in the mail is not clear, you can always talk to your mailing vendor and clear all doubts. Facilitating quick and efficient deliveries can also help strengthen the relationship between you and your clients. If you select the regular mail option to send your checks through the USPS, your mail will be delivered in around 3-6 working days. The second option is to select priority mail and get your mails delivered in just 1-3 working days. Most companies opt for this option, as it is very convenient and affordable for mailing checks. You can ask the staff at the nearest post office about the best way to send a large check. They will guide you about sending large checks in the mail and the time involved. The first-class mail option offered by the USPS may sound like priority mail. But, the name is meant to state the size of the document. It is cheaper than priority mail and delivers in the same time frame. However, priority mails are always sorted and sent first. Hence, though the ultimate delivery time period is the same, the priority mail option is safer. Another option available with the USPS is express mail. This option is the fastest way to mail a check and delivers your check within 1-2 business days or even overnight, in some cases. International mails can take up to a few weeks to be delivered by the USPS. Hence, it is advised to send your checks in advance, so that it reaches the destination before the last date to encash the check. Consult your mailing vendors and choose a mailing option that best suits your needs. Select a vendor after knowing their views on how to mail a check safely. If their overall services are safe and reassuring, you can choose them as your mailing partner confidently.
Also Read: Pre-printed Checks vs Blank Checks
If Something Happens
So, what happens if you mail a check and it gets stolen?
For starters, the thief will typically have to forge the payee’s signature or alter the check. With modern checks, it’s difficult to get away with alterations, and altered checks are a form of fraud. Then, they will have to convince a bank or check cashing store to accept the fake endorsement (which is especially difficult without showing ID and revealing their identity). If you use the suggestions above, you make all of this difficult for the thief. Also, the restrictive endorsement improves the chances that you’ll have a bank account number tied to the thief, which can help investigators.
Assuming a thief is successful in getting cash, your check would have been used fraudulently. You should contact your bank and law enforcement officials immediately. State laws may protect you from loss, but it’s important to follow the specific steps required in each state. The bank or check cashing store that cashed the check may be liable for any loss.
All of the information above assumes that the check is deposited or cashed in the United States. U.S. banks have strict rules on identifying customers, but other nations may have different rules.
Have You Lost a Check?
If a check disappears, you can request a stop payment at your bank. Your bank will flag the check and (hopefully) prevent the check from being paid from your account. There may be a modest fee for this service, and there are limits to how effective it is—but it’s safer than doing nothing.
You can also set up alerts (like email or text message alerts) from your bank so that you know when the check is deposited. Moving quickly can help you and your bank track down any problems.
Using a Special Type of Letter
You can get a special type of letter, either colored or using Special delivery, to make sure that the recipient actually gets it. To get a colored letter, you can ask the clerk in the postal office. They will usually provide several options when it comes to colored letters. You can also bring your own unique letter as long as it’s possible to write and read the sending info. Also, the postmark should be able to stick. When it comes to sending a letter via special delivery, all you need to do is state that this is your preferred method to a clerk, and they’ll fill you in the details. In general, it isn’t really much different than mailing a regular letter in terms of which information it requires, mailing process, etc. It is, however, the safest way to send a check through the mail. It will arrive faster, and chances of being misplaced or stolen during delivery are close to a zero.
Using Specific Info and Restricting the Check
Although forging a signature as well as other details required to cash the check is hard, it isn’t impossible. This is why we’re inclined to hide the check in the first place when using regular mail. If you don’t want to hide the check, you can restrict it. To do this, fill in the details as you normally would, and add for “deposit only” at the end. This way, the only way the recipient will be able to get the money is by getting to a bank. You can also fill the check so that the money is directly transferred to a specific bank account. How do you restrict the check this way? Add Pay to the Order of Sample Bank follower by the account of the recipient as well as the payee’s signature. This makes forging or otherwise stealing the funds virtually impossible. Even if someone manages to steal the letter with a check, they won’t be able to do anything with it.
How to spot a fake check through email
In addition to online security risks receiving checks through email, there is also potential for them to be counterfeit.
Spotting a fake check through email is somewhat similar to spotting fake traditional paper checks.
In particular, if you’ve been sent a screenshot/image of a physical check, here are some tell-tale signs of a fake:
- Quality of the image: The higher the quality, the more likely that it may have been fabricated from scratch using image processing software, in which case, tread very carefully. If the image can be clearly identified as a picture of a physical check, consider observing the following to determine authenticity:
- Bank details: The origin of the check should be indicated usually on the top left, displaying the issuing bank’s logo and name.
- Check number: This should be located on the top right corner and either the first or third number on the MICR line. Both of these numbers should be the same.
- MICR line: Positioned towards the bottom of the check, this should contain both the issuing bank’s routing number, as well the account number of the checking account from which funds will be drawn.
- Compare with an authentic check: A good idea is to contact the bank and ask for a voided check to compare the validity and positioning of the check’s features.
If you are suspicious of the emailed check, ensure you speak with your bank or check deposit service provider, to confirm its validity.
It takes about 2 weeks before they can determine whether or not it is fraudulent. Considering the damage fraudulent scams can cost you, this is most definitely worth the wait.
3. Send Your First eCheck
The process of how to send electronic checks is extremely easy once you’re signed up. Most sites keep it to the basics: fill out the recipient’s name, email, the amount, and a quick description. The person or business you sent it to enters their destination funding source, the payment is processed, and that’s that!
Once you’ve learned how to do an electronic check for the first time, you will receive a confirmation email. You’ll receive another one once the recipient has accepted payment. Of course, you’ll also have a lower bank balance as evidence. It’s really that easy. Not only that, some sites offer a lot of extra features that make the financial side of life so much simpler.
For instance, some companies offer what is essentially an online checkbook for your eChecks. This allows you to keep better track of incoming and outgoing payments and can be very convenient for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Real-time check tracking allows you to know exactly when money will change hands. Now that’s keeping an eye on your cash flow.
Sending digital checks is also one of the least expensive ways to process payments online. With fees as low as $1/check, it’s absolutely critical to consider this option if you do business online. Not to mention the amount of paper, time, and money you’ll save.
About This Article
Co-authored by: Amber Crain wikiHow Staff Writer This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Amber Crain. Amber Crain has been a member of wikiHow’s writing staff for the last six years. She graduated from the University of Houston where she majored in Classical Studies and minored in Painting. Before coming to wikiHow, she worked in a variety of industries including marketing, education, and music journalism. She’s been a radio DJ for 10+ years and currently DJs a biweekly music program on the award-winning internet radio station DKFM. Her work at wikiHow supports her lifelong passion for learning and her belief that knowledge belongs to anyone who desires to seek it. This article has been viewed 40,870 times. 10 votes – 70% Co-authors: 2 Updated: January 31, 2020 Views: 40,870 Categories: Checks and Checkbooks