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Increase in fake checks reported from Jacksonville businesses

Business account owners have just 24 hours to report a suspicious charge before they become liable for the balance.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Are the checks coming into your business fraudulent? One Jacksonville-based bank says you might want to check, after they have seen an increase in reported check fraud attempts in businesses of all sizes.

Jacksonville-based Florida Capital Bank has seen an 70% increase in fraud lose among their business clients from 2020 to 2021.

“The checks are being intercepted. They can be washed, and, you know, out to the fraudsters, and they're cashing those checks out to their own bags," Allen Escarcha, an FLCBank business relationship banker, said.

This can be devastating for business account owners because they have just 24 hours to report a suspicious charge before they become liable for the balance.

Check fraud cost Floridians $331,000 from 2020 to 2021.

There are things you can do to spot a fake check:

Look at the Bank's name and address on the check and make sure it's a legitimate bank and the address corresponds with that bank’s physical address. The next thing you want to check is the security features. All official checks will come with some type of security measure such as a watermark or color-changing ink. And finally, when you do received a check, look at the dollar amount and make sure it was the amount you were expecting. As scammers will likely increase that amount to try and get the most of the scam.

There are also multiple tools available to alert business of fraudulent activity

"One tool that we have is positive pay. And what that means is the clients have the ability to it forces the client to review those checks, and have the opportunity to decision that item. So they'll review it, approve or reject that check on the front end. So essentially, what's happening is you're caching that fraud on the front end versus the back end, when reconciling the account," Escarcha said.

If you believe you have been a target of a counterfeit check leaders say to also report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

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