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I came across an article/advertorial, in print, describing the virtues of safety cheques. Safety cheques are purported to be a good tool for fighting cheque fraud. The features of the cheques include:

  • A hologram,
  • Microprinting and other high-resolution elements,
  • Watermarks.

The gist of the article is that by using these (presumably more expensive) features on one's cheques, the incidence of cheque fraud can be reduced.

My questions are:

  • Do these cheques actually make it any safer for people to use cheques?

  • Do bankers (or anybody else) check the hologram, microprinting, or other elements of a supposed safety cheque during the clearing process to ensure it hasn't been tampered with or duplicated?

    (Isn't it up to the account owner to verify whether cheques that cleared were authentic or not?)

  • Is one any more liable if one orders and uses only regular (non-safety) cheques and is then the victim of cheque fraud?

  • Are there any studies that indicate a reduced incidence of fraud for safety cheques, whether in Canada or other countries?

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Do bankers (or anybody else) check the hologram, microprinting, or other elements of a supposed safety cheque during the clearing process to ensure it hasn't been tampered with or duplicated?

I believe they do. When I deposited a check in a Chase branch, the cashier passed it through an UV light beam.

(Isn't it up to the account owner to verify whether cheques that cleared were authentic or not?)

The safety features would help you here as well. If you know that your checks should have it and the one cashed doesn't - it's something you can use to prove to the bank it was forged and recover your money.

Is one any more liable if one orders and uses only regular (non-safety) cheques and is then the victim of cheque fraud?

I don't think its a matter of liability, but I do think it makes it easier to prove that the fraudulent checks are in fact fraudulent.

Are there any studies that indicate a reduced incidence of fraud for safety cheques, whether in Canada or other countries?

Great question, would like to know the answer for that one.

  • I don't think its about reducing fraud attempts so much as detecting and preventing it from costing the bank or account holder due to the fraud. – user4127 Oct 31 '11 at 14:27

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