One of the more frequent means by which customers are defrauded is by cheque interception. On average, a cheque is handled by up to 20 people from the time you make it out to the time your branch pays it. This means that there are numerous opportunities for the cheque to be intercepted. Most commonly this happens when cheques are posted.
Another common way in which customers are defrauded is accepting a cheque or bank deposit when selling goods. Often the cheque or the deposit turns out to be fraudulent and the seller is out of pocket. Sellers are advised never to release goods until they are certain that the payment is valid.
Always wait for the funds to be cleared before releasing goods, even if it seems to be a bank issued cheque.
While the cheque may appear to be genuine, fraudsters have even gone so far as to print their own cheques. The cheque could also be stolen. Even if the cheque is genuine, there are certain instances when banks issue cheques that will not be honoured.
Never accept a faxed bank deposit slip as proof of payment. Amounts and details can easily be changed to reflect a higher value or that it is a cash deposit.
Check with your bank first that the correct amount has been deposited and whether the deposit is cash or cheque. If it is a cheque deposit, wait until the cheque has been paid (usually this will take seven days) before you release goods.
The customer should report a stolen chequebook to his/ her account holding or nearest FNB branch as soon as he/she detects that the chequebook is missing. There is also the ability to stop a cheque online via FNB Online Banking.
The posting of cheques should be avoided, should it be necessary, cheques should be placed in non-transparent or dark envelopes without any staples / paper clips, which can be felt through the envelope.
Many alternative payment methods exist that are safe and convenient and can even save on bank charges. These alternatives include Visa Electron debit cards, Online Banking, Cellphone Banking, ATM payments, debit orders and future dated payments.