Cheque Fraud

Don’t be a victim of cheque fraud. How it works? An individual sends you a cheque asking you to deposit it into your account and forward the funds via wire transfer or money order elsewhere. The cheque is usually drawn on an account in the name of a person or business that you have not been dealing with. This is a red flag! These cheques are usually counterfeit, stolen or altered. Weeks and even months pass until you discover the cheque was fraudulent and now it’s being returned back to you unpaid and the full amount of the cheque is deducted from your account. You are now responsible for any related loss!

Other forms of fraudulent payment items to watch out for are traveler’s cheques or money orders.

Cheque fraud can take several forms:

  • A lottery notification that requires a fee be paid before you can collect your prize
  • An inheritance notification of a recently deceased distant relative that you were unaware of
  • A request to transfer funds to your account for ‘safekeeping’ with the promise of a portion of the money for doing so
  • You were overpaid for the item you are selling and you’re asked to return the excess funds
  • International respondents to personal ads

How to protect yourself

  • Lock your cheques securely away from public access
  • Frequently check the number order of your cheques to ensure they aren’t out of sequence order
  • Use non-erasable ink to write cheques and do not leave blank spaces
  • Avoid making cheques payable to cash or leaving them blank
  • Check your bank account frequently and report any discrepancies immediately
  • If you suspect your cheques have been lost or stolen contact your Aldergrove Credit Union branch immediately

Some things to note:

  • The cheque that is sent to you won’t usually be drawn on an account in the name of the person or company with whom you have been dealing – the cheques are usually counterfeit or stolen and altered
  • The fraudulent cheques will be returned to your account, unpaid and the full amount will be deducted from your account
  • Fraudulent cheques can be returned unpaid weeks or even months after you deposit them
  • Other fraudulent payment items can be used, including money orders and travellers cheques
  • Most of the offers seem too good to be true and they usually are

Some common questions about the impact of cheque fraud include:

  • Who is responsible for the loss to my account?
    • You are responsible for any cheque you deposit into your account
    • If a cheque is returned unpaid, you are fully responsible for any related loss
    • Only you can determine the risks related to transactions you enter into

  • Why was I allowed to withdraw the money deposited via cheque?
    • Access to deposited funds is often allowed immediately or after a short hold for your convenience
    • This is subject to the terms of your account agreement

  • Why didn’t the credit union know the cheque was fraudulent?
    • It is not possible for credit union staff to confirm that a cheque is valid
    • Sometimes, staff can call to confirm that there are funds on deposit in the account that the cheque is drawn on
    • This doesn’t consider the fact that their member may not have actually wrote the cheque

Further information on cheque fraud can be found at  and

If you believe you have been the victim of, or are currently being solicited by a fraudster, contact your local police department and / or Phonebusters immediately at  or 1 888 495 8501. Online reporting can be provided at

If you believe you have recently deposited a fraudulent cheque or other negotiable item, please contact your branch  immediately.


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