How to Verify the Owner of a Bank Account

Can you confidently accept checks?

Bank fraud has become an increasing problem as a result of technological advances. One of the main areas of concern is check fraud. Criminals wash checks with chemical solutions and expert handwriting duplication. Laser printers make creating fraudulent checks easy. As a merchant, or anyone accepting a check as a payment, verifying the owner of a bank account protects you from loss. Even the best efforts don't always prevent you from being the victim of fraud.

Step 1

Request to see identification. Check the name on the ID with the name on the check as well as matching the signatures. Many business and personal accounts allow someone to be a signer on the account without being the owner. In this case, the name may not match the check name.

Step 2

Call the check's bank and verify additional signers on the account. You may also give the bank the amount of the check to determine if funds are available. Don't expect a bank to give you detailed information such as account holder names, balances or contact information. You can expect most banks to say that the funds are available and that the person you have named is the owner or is allowed to write a check on the account.

Step 3

Use TeleCheck, the merchant service which uses digital data to confirm account status. This service gives you a confirmation number, protecting you from fraudulent activity. If you are a merchant, you can get more information about TeleCheck at FirstData.com.

Warning

Accepting a fraudulent check and spending the funds leaves you holding the bill. When in doubt, ask for a different form of payment.

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