Business checks are one of the most valuable assets to your company, but they can also pose a huge liability through check fraud. To make matters worse, criminals have any number of options at their disposal for misappropriating and altering your business checks for their own nefarious purposes.
Spot altering, check washing, and counterfeiting business checks are just a few of the most common ways that bad guys can gain access to your company’s cash. A counterfeited check can be created with relative ease using simple computer software or by scanning, photocopying, or laser printing. Spot alteration (which is the removal of some information) and check washing (which results in the wiping clean of all information printed on your check) are both accomplished through the use of chemicals, like bleach and acetone. Sometimes, even everyday items like specialized pencil and pen erasers and White Out are used.
But before you sound the panic alarm, take a look at three of the most effective business printing security features that’ll help you stay one step ahead of the unscrupulous: Optical Deterrent Technology (ODT), thermochromic ink, and true and artificial watermarks.
Optical Deterrent Technology (ODT). This is a patented security device that can be printed onto checks and other important documents. If a ne’er-do-well does get a hold of one of your checks, the chance of a successful scan or photocopy being created is nil. Whether using a black and white or color copying process, the word VOID or COPY will appear across the face of the check, alerting any recipient that the check isn’t valid.
Thermochromic ink: it’s not just for mood rings anymore. This ink uses leuco dyes that shift or disappear in response to temperature changes. Just pressing your finger to the ink is enough to change the color, indicating that the check is legitimate. Instructions on the check also let a recipient know how to determine if the ink is present. If there’s no color change, the check recipient will immediately know they’ve been given a fake check.
True and artificial watermarks. Don’t let the word ‘artificial’ fool you. Artificial watermarks are every bit as good as true watermarks. The difference is in how they’re made. A true watermark is pressed into the paper during manufacturing. An artificial watermark is printed on the paper with a special ink that can only be seen at a 45-degree angle. Scanning or photocopying a check with either type will render the watermark invisible, and thus easily identifiable as a fake.
Document security is critical to the financial well-being of your company, but you don’t have to abandon traditional paper check methods to keep yourself safe. By implementing the three methods above, you can continue to do business the way you’ve always done it, but with added security benefits.