ALERT!!!! A new technique has been discovered by fraudsters to siphon money from your bank accounts. This technique is commonly known as cheque Washing. Large sums of money has been withdrawn from the corporate and personal bank accounts by using these techniques.
There are various methods to conduct this kind of fraud. The most common method used by these fraudsters is use of “magic pen”. They lure the payer of the cheque to use a pen for writing the cheque amount and figures. Later the fraudster uses an eraser that can clean/wipe the amount entered on the cheque. He then alters the amount and other necessary details on the cheque to withdraw a higher amount from the bank.
In case the a payer users a ball pen or a roller pen to write a cheque the fraudsters have also found a way to erase these inks from the cheque for alterations. They make use of readily available chemical agents like:
- Acetone, used as a hand wipe solvent in cleaning agents
- Bleach, used in everyday cleaning
- Carbon Tetrachloride, used to clean carpets
To wash a cheque, it is soaked in, for example, acetone, and then run through denatured alcohol to remove the ink. All the writing is removed after the cheque dries out. A typed cheque will work the same removing typewritten characters on a typed cheque. Voila…a blank cheque.
Security Tips for fighting back
- Never borrow or use a pen provided by other people to write a cheque
- Make use of good quality Gel pens to write cheque. (Gel Pen ink is generally does not react with organic solvent chemicals)
- Avoid use of ball pens to write cheque.( Ball pen ink can be easily erased off)
- Use of black ink is recommended while writing a cheque so that if the cheque is washed, smudged marks are left on the cheque.
- Make use of transparent sticking tape on the amount section so that it cannot be altered. (Ripping off the sticking tape will damage the cheque)
- To combat cheque fraud, printers build many types of security features into cheques:
- Microprinted words that look like simple lines to the naked eye and which most printers and copiers can’t effectively duplicate, preventing easy counterfeiting.
- Reactive paper or ink that changes appearance when exposed to chemicals to reveal attempts at cheque washing.
- Heat reactive markings that fade when you touch them and then reappear seconds later, making them hard for forgers to duplicate.
- Ultraviolet reactive paper that allows bank personnel to cheque its authenticity based on how it reacts to a black light.
- Difficult-to-copy holographic seals.