Combatting fraudulent activities seems like a full time job these days. Everything we can do to try and prevent being defrauded is important – even down to the type of pen we use to write checks! 

A type of fraud involving altering checks called “check washing” is on the rise. The scam is relatively simple: Criminals steal checks from a mailbox and then “wash” them in chemicals which remove the ink. They then rewrite the check, putting their name on it to cash it and steal your money.

An important tip is to consider the type of pen you use to write out checks. Using gel pens for check writing is a great option because the unique properties of gel ink serve as an effective deterrent to fraudsters, making it more challenging for them to replicate or tamper with important check details.

There are several key advantages to using gel pens in this context:

  • Tamper Resistance: Gel ink possesses specific properties that make it highly resistant to alteration attempts. It absorbs into the paper fibers more deeply and quickly compared to traditional ballpoint ink, creating a noticeable contrast between the original ink and any subsequent alterations.
  • Ink Consistency: Gel pens provide a consistent and smooth flow of ink, ensuring that signatures and other essential check information are legible and indelible. This helps prevent unauthorized modifications or amendments.
  • Quick Drying: Gel ink typically dries faster than standard ink, minimizing the risk of smudging or smearing. This feature is particularly important for check handling, where efficient processing and clear documentation are vital.

Using gel ink pens to write checks is just one of the ways to protect yourself or your business from check fraud.  For more tips, visit First Bank’s Security webpage.