As the digital world empowers businesses to do transactions across the globe, it has opened up huge potential for local businesses to offer their products and services to a much wider target market than they once could. The new possibilities of this have enabled business owners who once only operated on small sites like Etsy to become a globally operating success.
However, these technologies also open businesses up to risk in which we unfortunately live in a day and age where business fraud is prevalent. One of the ways this fraud is taking place is through the use of counterfeit documents. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the ways fraudsters are using counterfeit documents, the impact it could have on your business, and how to best protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Common Types of Counterfeit Documents
Each year, there are 16.7 million instances of identity fraud, which could impact not only your business but your loyal customers too. It’s important to be aware of the types of counterfeit documents that can be used.
There are many types of forged documents, however they will always include the perpetrator changing the identity or information on the forged document in some sort of way. This can include:
- Changing variable information
- Inserting pages from another document or adding in fake pages
- Removing pages of specific information
- Applying false logos, stamps or watermarks
- Digitally altering or adding information to an image or original document
Counterfeit documents operate in a similar way to money, in which criminals will obtain a template that looks like the real thing and then insert fake or misleading information. This can encompass documents shared on the web, documents used in the film world or on TV shows, and documents that have been reported stolen to police.
One of the largest issues businesses faces when it comes to counterfeit documents is counterfeit checks. In a fake scam check, someone will ask you to deposit a check which can sometimes be for several thousands of dollars. The scammer will usually have an elaborate reason why you need to deposit this check, some of which can be highly realistic and convincing.
These fake checks may look like a business check, a personal check, a cashier’s check or even a money order, in which there are a number of steps you can take to avoid falling victim to a check scam.
Types of Fake Check Scams
Some of the ways your business could be involved in a check scam include:
- Mystery shopping
- Car wraps
- Claiming prizes
- Personal Assistants
How Do These Counterfeit Checks Work?
Counterfeit checks usually have the names and logos of legitimate financial institutions printed on them, leading you to deposit the check. A bank must legally make any deposited funds from a check available within a short number of days, usually 3; however, it can take up to 2 weeks for a bank to uncover that a check was fake.
By this time, a scammer may have led you into refunding or returning their money, in which you will have paid out money from your account that you will never get from the fake check.
How To Avoid Becoming a Victim of Counterfeit Checks
There are some simple measures you can take to avoid becoming a victim of a counterfeit check. These include:
- Don’t accept a check for more than the selling priceWatch out for offers that make you pay for a prize
- Never use money from a check to make transfers
Overall, counterfeit documents can pose a huge risk to your business and can be pretty scary to encounter. However, by being aware of these scams and by taking the above measures to protect yourself, you have the best chance of avoiding ever having to deal with such a situation.