Risk with paying someone with a personal check

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MathIsMyWayr
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Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information. Apparently a lot of damage may be done by someone who is in possession of the information. How should I pay someone (not a business accepting credit cards) a large sum of money safely? If I have to give the information to someone such as a accountant, how should I protect myself? I also wrote a personal check to an automobile dealer when buying a car in cash last time. I am not suspecting anyone now, but precaution is always good and prudent. Once the information is in the hands of someone, there is no assurance that the information will be properly safeguarded.

Someone with your personal check can raid your account: Money Matters
https://www.cleveland.com/business/2018 ... l_che.html
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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by oldcomputerguy »

I've never done it personally, so I I can't say for sure whether it will meet your needs, but you might investigate going to your bank and getting them to issue a cashier's check. It won't have your account number on it, it's drawn on the bank's own funds. You might also check to see if the contemplated payee can accept a bank ACH transfer; if so, you should be able to do an ACH transfer to them.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by ResearchMed »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:12 pm It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information. Apparently a lot of damage may be done by someone who is in possession of the information. How should I pay someone (not a business accepting credit cards) a large sum of money safely? If I have to give the information to someone such as a accountant, how should I protect myself? I also wrote a personal check to an automobile dealer when buying a car in cash last time. I am not suspecting anyone now, but precaution is always good and prudent. Once the information is in the hands of someone, there is no assurance that the information will be properly safeguarded.

Someone with your personal check can raid your account: Money Matters
https://www.cleveland.com/business/2018 ... l_che.html
When we paid using online banking with a physical check (not electronic), the check that was received by the payee was not "from us" (and in the further past, it looked like junk mail and often got thrown out!).

It was from something relatively non-descript, and the "notation" was where it was stated as "from us".
So... no personal info at all, other than our names.

Might your bank offer that/do it that way?

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7eight9
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by 7eight9 »

Check Positive Pay. Every company I've worked for has utilized this service (from Wells Fargo typically if memory serves correct). You might consider availing yourself of it if too.

Explanation of service from Huntington Bank --- https://www.huntington.com/Commercial/p ... sitive-pay
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02nz
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by 02nz »

Services like Plastiq let you pay with a credit card, they mail a check. The fee is 2.85%, but that can be largely negated by the cash back from the credit card.
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mmmodem
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by mmmodem »

I use online bill pay. The bank sends their own check from their own account and they sign it. If fraud happens, it will be on their own dime. I've used it to pay for home services and to pay rent. The only negative is that it takes 3-4 days for the bank to mail the physical check to the recipient. I'm running out of checks and have no wish to purchase more. I'm hoping the personal check payment system dies soon.
Teague
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by Teague »

Your routing number is supposed confidential information? Let's say you have a Bank of America account in the state of New York.
Your routing number will be 021000322. There, the secret is out.

The linked article even states that fraud of this sort is uncommon, and so not a high priority for banks. You will be reimbursed if fraud of this kind happens. Personally this is low on my list of worries.
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Watty
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by Watty »

This is nothing new, even back in the dark ages before online banking people would sometimes take the information off of a paper check and and print up fake checks and use them to buy stuff. When personal laser printers first became available in the 1980s some people used them to print fake checks like this so it was much easier to do so it became more of a problem.

You also need to consider that every time you pay something like a utility bill with a check that the first thing that happens is that some low paid clerk will open the envelope and have access to the check. They could easily take a picture of it with their cell phone to get all the information off of it.

One critical thing to watch out for is that personal checking accounts and business checking accounts may have different protections and requirements for reporting fraudulent checks. If you have a business checking account the protections may be a lot less.

One thing that I do is that I have it set up so that my bank will text me my checking account balance each night. I write so few checks that anything odd would quickly stand out so it could be reported while there is more of a chance to reverse any fraudulent check.

I also keep a modest amount in my checking account unless I will be making some large purchase so that helps limit my risk. I also had to specifically turn off any overdraft protection so that if there is not enough to cover a check it will bounce. I keep track of my balance and while there is not a lot in my checking account the balance rarely gets anywhere near the point where I would need to worry about accidentally bouncing a check.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by 7eight9 »

mmmodem wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:38 pm I use online bill pay. The bank sends their own check from their own account and they sign it. If fraud happens, it will be on their own dime. I've used it to pay for home services and to pay rent. The only negative is that it takes 3-4 days for the bank to mail the physical check to the recipient. I'm running out of checks and have no wish to purchase more. I'm hoping the personal check payment system dies soon.
You might want to consider opening a Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account. Checks are FREE.
https://www.schwab.com/public/file/P-6425867
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by runner540 »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:12 pm It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information. Apparently a lot of damage may be done by someone who is in possession of the information. How should I pay someone (not a business accepting credit cards) a large sum of money safely? If I have to give the information to someone such as a accountant, how should I protect myself? I also wrote a personal check to an automobile dealer when buying a car in cash last time. I am not suspecting anyone now, but precaution is always good and prudent. Once the information is in the hands of someone, there is no assurance that the information will be properly safeguarded.

Someone with your personal check can raid your account: Money Matters
https://www.cleveland.com/business/2018 ... l_che.html
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MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:43 pm Your routing number is supposed confidential information? Let's say you have a Bank of America account in the state of New York.
Your routing number will be 021000322. There, the secret is out.

The linked article even states that fraud of this sort is uncommon, and so not a high priority for banks. You will be reimbursed if fraud of this kind happens. Personally this is low on my list of worries.
Don't be too silly. The routing number itself is a public information which is even online. The combination of a routing number and an account number is sensitive information. A last name is quite common, but the combination of a last name and a first name may be not common.
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MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

oldcomputerguy wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:18 pm I've never done it personally, so I I can't say for sure whether it will meet your needs, but you might investigate going to your bank and getting them to issue a cashier's check. It won't have your account number on it, it's drawn on the bank's own funds. You might also check to see if the contemplated payee can accept a bank ACH transfer; if so, you should be able to do an ACH transfer to them.
A cashier's check also carries its own risk. As for a bank ACH transfer, doesn't the other party have to give me his account number? It is like throwing the ball to the other side.
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LilyFleur
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by LilyFleur »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:12 pm It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information. Apparently a lot of damage may be done by someone who is in possession of the information. How should I pay someone (not a business accepting credit cards) a large sum of money safely? If I have to give the information to someone such as a accountant, how should I protect myself? I also wrote a personal check to an automobile dealer when buying a car in cash last time. I am not suspecting anyone now, but precaution is always good and prudent. Once the information is in the hands of someone, there is no assurance that the information will be properly safeguarded.

Someone with your personal check can raid your account: Money Matters
https://www.cleveland.com/business/2018 ... l_che.html
When I bought my car, I put the down payment on a cash-back credit card and used a pre-approved auto loan from my credit union. Within a month, I paid off both of them.
rooms222
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by rooms222 »

Some bill pays use your own account information for the checks they send.

You can go to walmart to visit their money center and get a money order for 88 cents or less for up to $1000 bucks, I believe. You can pay by cash, or debit card with pin.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

So far this year I have written four checks. Two were to the company that did DW's bathroom remodel. That company actually built my house 30+ years ago. The other two checks were to long-time tradespeople.

Truthfully I don't like to write any checks at all, but I need a way to immediately pay those who do work for me.

The tradespeople do not accept credit cards, and honestly I wouldn't want to stick them with fees anyway. I have bill pay at my credit union, but that takes a few days, and I don't want them to wait to be paid. The only person who receives a bill pay check is my lawn guy. I pay him in advance by the month.

Given my history with the recipients of my few checks, I don't worry about check fraud at all.

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Teague
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by Teague »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:58 pm
Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:43 pm Your routing number is supposed confidential information? Let's say you have a Bank of America account in the state of New York.
Your routing number will be 021000322. There, the secret is out.

The linked article even states that fraud of this sort is uncommon, and so not a high priority for banks. You will be reimbursed if fraud of this kind happens. Personally this is low on my list of worries.
Don't be too silly. The routing number itself is a public information which is even online. The combination of a routing number and an account number is sensitive information. A last name is quite common, but the combination of a last name and a first name may be not common.
Silly? Well, you said
It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information.
I pointed out that's not accurate, only the account number could be considered confidential; the routing number is not confidential at all. Anyway, I think silly is letting letting oneself get worked up by this article in cleveland.com. As far as a secure way of paying someone, which was your question, I submit that a paper check remains a fine way to do that. I rarely do as I hate the fuss of paper checks, but it's entirely viable.

For anyone who has ever gotten a check from a major corporation, let's say an overpayment refund, you'll notice you have access to their routing number, account number, company name and address, and so on. The only real difference being all those asterisks which get replaced by digits when they issue those checks for six, seven, or eight figures. It works for ATT and the U.S. Government. It will probably work for you and me, cleveland.com notwithstanding.
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Kenkat
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by Kenkat »

The Routing and Account information can’t be too confidential if it is printed on your checks, so instead banks have put a number of safeguards around this to prevent / minimize fraud.

Typically when you write a check in person to purchase an item or to get cash, you will asked for ID. So if someone printed up checks with your numbers on them, they’d also need an ID with your name and address on them. There are real time identity check services that will verify bank account holders and match name and other information on the account to the account number.

If someone were to obtain your account number and use it to pay a bill online, that is typically tied back to an address so they will get caught and the money will be reversed back to your account.

If you sign up with someone like Vanguard or Venmo and link to a bank account, they will put a couple of micro deposits into your account (for example, 39 cents and 16 cents), then require that you tell them the amount of the deposits before they activate the link to your bank account. So someone would have to have access to your account itself, not just the numbers,

Check fraud is possible, it does happen, but checks have been around for a long time and so the controls are well established and there are many foolish people in jail for check fraud.

In addition to current safeguards, there are additional requirements for electronic storage of ACH information coming from NACHA that will match in part some of the existing PCI requirements for credit cards.
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TheTimeLord
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by TheTimeLord »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:12 pm It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information. Apparently a lot of damage may be done by someone who is in possession of the information. How should I pay someone (not a business accepting credit cards) a large sum of money safely? If I have to give the information to someone such as a accountant, how should I protect myself? I also wrote a personal check to an automobile dealer when buying a car in cash last time. I am not suspecting anyone now, but precaution is always good and prudent. Once the information is in the hands of someone, there is no assurance that the information will be properly safeguarded.

Someone with your personal check can raid your account: Money Matters
https://www.cleveland.com/business/2018 ... l_che.html
You can find bank routing numbers online, usually on the bank's website.
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student
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by student »

What I do is not optimal but it is something. I have a checking account with a few hundred dollars and no overdraft protection. I transfer money to it when I need to write a check.
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LilyFleur
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by LilyFleur »

student wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:49 pm What I do is not optimal but it is something. I have a checking account with a few hundred dollars and no overdraft protection. I transfer money to it when I need to write a check.
I think it's a good idea. I opened a separate checking account for Venmo transactions and keep very little money in there usually.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by livesoft »

I have never worried about and never had fraud committed in more than 45 years of having accounts with checks and sending checks to lots of places and trades people, friends, enemies, stores, US government, state governments, utilities, whatever, wherever.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by Stinky »

mmmodem wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:38 pm I use online bill pay. The bank sends their own check from their own account and they sign it. If fraud happens, it will be on their own dime. I've used it to pay for home services and to pay rent. The only negative is that it takes 3-4 days for the bank to mail the physical check to the recipient. I'm running out of checks and have no wish to purchase more. I'm hoping the personal check payment system dies soon.
+1

Online bill pay is the way to go for a transaction like yours.
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JoMoney
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by JoMoney »

If it's a personal consumer account, not a business account, your liability for fraud is limited. You do need to monitor your accounts and notify the bank immediately though.
https://www.thebalance.com/banking-frau ... ion-315828
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000
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by 000 »

Your checking account number is public information; it is printed right there on the check and is how the bank knows from whom to draw the funds.

If check fraud is a concern, do not keep a lot of money in your checking account. This is one reason "savings" accounts exist.

You can also pay with a cashier's check, money order, or cash.
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Artful Dodger
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by Artful Dodger »

I’m more concerned with all the vendors who have my data because of bill pay, auto withdrawal, online purchases, etc. Not too concerned about fraud arising from the few checks I write.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by H-Town »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:12 pm It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information. Apparently a lot of damage may be done by someone who is in possession of the information. How should I pay someone (not a business accepting credit cards) a large sum of money safely? If I have to give the information to someone such as a accountant, how should I protect myself? I also wrote a personal check to an automobile dealer when buying a car in cash last time. I am not suspecting anyone now, but precaution is always good and prudent. Once the information is in the hands of someone, there is no assurance that the information will be properly safeguarded.

Someone with your personal check can raid your account: Money Matters
https://www.cleveland.com/business/2018 ... l_che.html
I set up a checking account as the only account that transact with 3rd parties. After paying bills, I leave around $100 in this account. I never have any check frauds, but if I do in the future, there isn't much in the checking account...
New Providence
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by New Providence »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:12 pm It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information. Apparently a lot of damage may be done by someone who is in possession of the information. How should I pay someone (not a business accepting credit cards) a large sum of money safely? If I have to give the information to someone such as a accountant, how should I protect myself? I also wrote a personal check to an automobile dealer when buying a car in cash last time. I am not suspecting anyone now, but precaution is always good and prudent. Once the information is in the hands of someone, there is no assurance that the information will be properly safeguarded.

Someone with your personal check can raid your account: Money Matters
https://www.cleveland.com/business/2018 ... l_che.html
The article quoted doesn't provide any information about the frequency/severity of the risk. It as akin to say that Jaws can attack you in the ocean. Well, true, but how frequently such attacks occur? How realistic and how probable is such event?
arf30
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by arf30 »

For the rare occasions I need a check, I'll either get a cashier's check or use my bank's billpay system, as neither have my account number on them.
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MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

I have another concern with a bank account. In the good old days, banks sent me the cancelled checks every month. If my memory serves well, the bank information including the account number of the other party who deposited the check to his account was stamped on the back of a cancelled check. Does depositing a check issued to me also carry the risk of revealing my account information? I understand that the risks were there all the time, but it is now much easier for bad guys to do something.
student
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by student »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:35 pm I have another concern with a bank account. In the good old days, banks sent me the cancelled checks every month. If my memory serves well, the bank information including the account number of the other party who deposited the check to his account was stamped on the back of a cancelled check. Does depositing a check issued to me also carry the risk of revealing my account information? I understand that the risks were there all the time, but it is now much easier for bad guys to do something.
I wrote earlier that "What I do is not optimal but it is something. I have a checking account with a few hundred dollars and no overdraft protection. I transfer money to it when I need to write a check." One can also use this to deposit a check, and then transfer the money to your more private account...
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by willthrill81 »

Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:18 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:58 pm
Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:43 pm Your routing number is supposed confidential information? Let's say you have a Bank of America account in the state of New York.
Your routing number will be 021000322. There, the secret is out.

The linked article even states that fraud of this sort is uncommon, and so not a high priority for banks. You will be reimbursed if fraud of this kind happens. Personally this is low on my list of worries.
Don't be too silly. The routing number itself is a public information which is even online. The combination of a routing number and an account number is sensitive information. A last name is quite common, but the combination of a last name and a first name may be not common.
Silly? Well, you said
It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information.
I pointed out that's not accurate, only the account number could be considered confidential; the routing number is not confidential at all. Anyway, I think silly is letting letting oneself get worked up by this article in cleveland.com. As far as a secure way of paying someone, which was your question, I submit that a paper check remains a fine way to do that. I rarely do as I hate the fuss of paper checks, but it's entirely viable.

For anyone who has ever gotten a check from a major corporation, let's say an overpayment refund, you'll notice you have access to their routing number, account number, company name and address, and so on. The only real difference being all those asterisks which get replaced by digits when they issue those checks for six, seven, or eight figures. It works for ATT and the U.S. Government. It will probably work for you and me, cleveland.com notwithstanding.
I'm inclined to agree. I believe that the nice couple who mows our lawn every week is about the only entity we still write checks for, but they still seem to be about as secure as anything these days.

Where there is real risk is using debit cards.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by 000 »

willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:48 pm
Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:18 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:58 pm
Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:43 pm Your routing number is supposed confidential information? Let's say you have a Bank of America account in the state of New York.
Your routing number will be 021000322. There, the secret is out.

The linked article even states that fraud of this sort is uncommon, and so not a high priority for banks. You will be reimbursed if fraud of this kind happens. Personally this is low on my list of worries.
Don't be too silly. The routing number itself is a public information which is even online. The combination of a routing number and an account number is sensitive information. A last name is quite common, but the combination of a last name and a first name may be not common.
Silly? Well, you said
It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information.
I pointed out that's not accurate, only the account number could be considered confidential; the routing number is not confidential at all. Anyway, I think silly is letting letting oneself get worked up by this article in cleveland.com. As far as a secure way of paying someone, which was your question, I submit that a paper check remains a fine way to do that. I rarely do as I hate the fuss of paper checks, but it's entirely viable.

For anyone who has ever gotten a check from a major corporation, let's say an overpayment refund, you'll notice you have access to their routing number, account number, company name and address, and so on. The only real difference being all those asterisks which get replaced by digits when they issue those checks for six, seven, or eight figures. It works for ATT and the U.S. Government. It will probably work for you and me, cleveland.com notwithstanding.
I'm inclined to agree. I believe that the nice couple who mows our lawn every week is about the only entity we still write checks for, but they still seem to be about as secure as anything these days.

Where there is real risk is using debit cards.
How is debit worse than check? With the checking account number, the other party can just do ACH pulls.
000
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by 000 »

OP, your bank may also offer a feature that requires pre-authorization for any debit from your account (including a check).
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by willthrill81 »

000 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:51 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:48 pm
Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:18 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:58 pm
Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:43 pm Your routing number is supposed confidential information? Let's say you have a Bank of America account in the state of New York.
Your routing number will be 021000322. There, the secret is out.

The linked article even states that fraud of this sort is uncommon, and so not a high priority for banks. You will be reimbursed if fraud of this kind happens. Personally this is low on my list of worries.
Don't be too silly. The routing number itself is a public information which is even online. The combination of a routing number and an account number is sensitive information. A last name is quite common, but the combination of a last name and a first name may be not common.
Silly? Well, you said
It is well recognized that the bank routing and account numbers are confidential information.
I pointed out that's not accurate, only the account number could be considered confidential; the routing number is not confidential at all. Anyway, I think silly is letting letting oneself get worked up by this article in cleveland.com. As far as a secure way of paying someone, which was your question, I submit that a paper check remains a fine way to do that. I rarely do as I hate the fuss of paper checks, but it's entirely viable.

For anyone who has ever gotten a check from a major corporation, let's say an overpayment refund, you'll notice you have access to their routing number, account number, company name and address, and so on. The only real difference being all those asterisks which get replaced by digits when they issue those checks for six, seven, or eight figures. It works for ATT and the U.S. Government. It will probably work for you and me, cleveland.com notwithstanding.
I'm inclined to agree. I believe that the nice couple who mows our lawn every week is about the only entity we still write checks for, but they still seem to be about as secure as anything these days.

Where there is real risk is using debit cards.
How is debit worse than check? With the checking account number, the other party can just do ACH pulls.
Debit cards do not have the protections in place that credit cards do. This has been widely discussed on the forum in other threads.

A couple we know was traveling last year, and their debit card information was apparently stolen at a gas station card reader. By the time they realized what happened, their checking account had been cleaned out. It took them weeks to sort it all out. By contrast, we've had credit card information stolen four times in the last 20 years, and the only thing we had to do was identify the fraudulent charges; they sent us a new card in a few days.
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000
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by 000 »

willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:00 pm
000 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:51 pm How is debit worse than check? With the checking account number, the other party can just do ACH pulls.
Debit cards do not have the protections in place that credit cards do. This has been widely discussed on the forum in other threads.

A couple we know was traveling last year, and their debit card information was apparently stolen at a gas station card reader. By the time they realized what happened, their checking account had been cleaned out. It took them weeks to sort it all out. By contrast, we've had credit card information stolen four times in the last 20 years, and the only thing we had to do was identify the fraudulent charges; they sent us a new card in a few days.
Oh, I thought you were referring to debit cards being worse than checks, not credit cards.
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willthrill81
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by willthrill81 »

000 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:01 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:00 pm
000 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:51 pm How is debit worse than check? With the checking account number, the other party can just do ACH pulls.
Debit cards do not have the protections in place that credit cards do. This has been widely discussed on the forum in other threads.

A couple we know was traveling last year, and their debit card information was apparently stolen at a gas station card reader. By the time they realized what happened, their checking account had been cleaned out. It took them weeks to sort it all out. By contrast, we've had credit card information stolen four times in the last 20 years, and the only thing we had to do was identify the fraudulent charges; they sent us a new card in a few days.
Oh, I thought you were referring to debit cards being worse than checks, not credit cards.
I believe that debit card fraud is far more prevalent than check theft and fraud (not referring to those passing around fake or bouncy checks).
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
dachshunddad
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by dachshunddad »

I also agree that you should stay away from debit cards. I don’t think you can protect yourself from all possible forms of fraud. They can get you in the smallest thing you didn’t even realize. I check my bank account balances every couple days. I think this is the best way to guard against catching fraud early.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by InMyDreams »

A friend wrote a check to a person who provided a small service. That person "deposited" the check image and didn't properly dispose (shred) of the check itself. Someone started to use that check's info to make small charges - during a time when my friend was recovering from surgery. It was a few months before she realized what was happening. She did recover the lost monies, I believe.

I write checks to the IRS and the state tax collector. Rarely do I have another reason to write one.

I use online bill pay as another poster mentioned, and cashier's checks. Also, plain old cash and get a receipt - not thru the mail.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by BolderBoy »

livesoft wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:52 pmI have never worried about and never had fraud committed in more than 45 years of having accounts with checks and sending checks to lots of places and trades people, friends, enemies, stores, US government, state governments, utilities, whatever, wherever.
Lucky you.

In 2017 I sent a check for $27 to a contractor. The check was stolen from his mailbox and the routing and account numbers used to set up a recurring, monthly payment account (in the amount of $27) at Old Navy in a fake name. Took me 3 months to get the auto ACH transfers turned off, the money refunded to me, the bank to issue me a new account number and I promptly closed the account.

Hassle...
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by MarkBarb »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:58 pm
Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:43 pm Your routing number is supposed confidential information? Let's say you have a Bank of America account in the state of New York.
Your routing number will be 021000322. There, the secret is out.

The linked article even states that fraud of this sort is uncommon, and so not a high priority for banks. You will be reimbursed if fraud of this kind happens. Personally this is low on my list of worries.
Don't be too silly. The routing number itself is a public information which is even online. The combination of a routing number and an account number is sensitive information. A last name is quite common, but the combination of a last name and a first name may be not common.
Is it really that sensitive? During the last century, virtually everyone I knew wrote checks all the time and every check had their routing and account numbers printed on them. I had a friend that owned some fitness clubs and the way his autodraft worked was that he had checks printed for his customers with "signature on file" stamped in the signature spot and just submitted those to the bank like his customers had given them to him. It seems laughably insecure, but that's how the system works.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by livesoft »

BolderBoy wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:17 pm Lucky you.

In 2017 I sent a check for $27 to a contractor. The check was stolen from his mailbox and the routing and account numbers used to set up a recurring, monthly payment account (in the amount of $27) at Old Navy in a fake name. Took me 3 months to get the auto ACH transfers turned off, the money refunded to me, the bank to issue me a new account number and I promptly closed the account.

Hassle...
Actually, I've been unlucky with a bank due to a mistake that the human teller made. Also a hassle, but 6-figure consequences.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by jebmke »

Every check I have has routing and account number. I rarely use checks to begin with and normally keep almost no money in the checking account so the risk, if any is quite small.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by skepticalobserver »

Absolutely, positively do not use personal checks. Routing and account numbers in the wrong hands is an invitation for fraud. Ever hear of Photoshop? Counterfeit checks are the rage and your bank can make it difficult to recover stolen funds. Your state most likely incorporated the UCC (Negotiable Instruments) into state laws--good luck unraveling that mess!

Somewhere on this forum I recounted a nasty experience in this matter.

Pay online or in cash.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:18 pm For anyone who has ever gotten a check from a major corporation, let's say an overpayment refund, you'll notice you have access to their routing number, account number, company name and address, and so on. The only real difference being all those asterisks which get replaced by digits when they issue those checks for six, seven, or eight figures. It works for ATT and the U.S. Government. It will probably work for you and me, cleveland.com notwithstanding.
Running afoul of a big organization with tons of lawyers and security people is different from running afoul of hapless little Joe.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by michaeljc70 »

MarkBarb wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:24 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:58 pm
Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:43 pm Your routing number is supposed confidential information? Let's say you have a Bank of America account in the state of New York.
Your routing number will be 021000322. There, the secret is out.

The linked article even states that fraud of this sort is uncommon, and so not a high priority for banks. You will be reimbursed if fraud of this kind happens. Personally this is low on my list of worries.
Don't be too silly. The routing number itself is a public information which is even online. The combination of a routing number and an account number is sensitive information. A last name is quite common, but the combination of a last name and a first name may be not common.
Is it really that sensitive? During the last century, virtually everyone I knew wrote checks all the time and every check had their routing and account numbers printed on them. I had a friend that owned some fitness clubs and the way his autodraft worked was that he had checks printed for his customers with "signature on file" stamped in the signature spot and just submitted those to the bank like his customers had given them to him. It seems laughably insecure, but that's how the system works.
Exactly. Anyone (person or business) that you wrote a check to in your lifetime could have that information. I don't worry about it.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by Teague »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:03 pm
Teague wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:18 pm For anyone who has ever gotten a check from a major corporation, let's say an overpayment refund, you'll notice you have access to their routing number, account number, company name and address, and so on. The only real difference being all those asterisks which get replaced by digits when they issue those checks for six, seven, or eight figures. It works for ATT and the U.S. Government. It will probably work for you and me, cleveland.com notwithstanding.
Running afoul of a big organization with tons of lawyers and security people is different from running afoul of hapless little Joe.
Not so here. The jail cell looks the same from the inside no matter who was involved along the way. Little Joe (and Hoss and Hop Sing for that matter) are neither hapless nor alone, for they have the considerable resources of the banks and state and local law enforcement behind them. Perhaps even the FBI depending on what was involved.
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House Blend
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by House Blend »

000 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:57 pm If check fraud is a concern, do not keep a lot of money in your checking account. This is one reason "savings" accounts exist.
Two years ago, I had a business to business check drawn against my savings account. This was an account that did not and could not offer checkwriting privileges. Took a couple of weeks to get the money back.
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by 000 »

House Blend wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 7:16 pm
000 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:57 pm If check fraud is a concern, do not keep a lot of money in your checking account. This is one reason "savings" accounts exist.
Two years ago, I had a business to business check drawn against my savings account. This was an account that did not and could not offer checkwriting privileges. Took a couple of weeks to get the money back.
Thanks for sharing your (frustrating) experience. I will add to my above post that using different institutions for transactional vs. long term holdings is another security measure, and one reason I do not want Vanguard to become a bank.
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willthrill81
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by willthrill81 »

skepticalobserver wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:34 pm Absolutely, positively do not use personal checks. Routing and account numbers in the wrong hands is an invitation for fraud. Ever hear of Photoshop? Counterfeit checks are the rage and your bank can make it difficult to recover stolen funds. Your state most likely incorporated the UCC (Negotiable Instruments) into state laws--good luck unraveling that mess!

Somewhere on this forum I recounted a nasty experience in this matter.

Pay online or in cash.
You don't have any protections online when paying with a credit card that you don't have when paying with a credit card in person. I'm not saying that the risk of fraudulent charges is equal in both situations, but the protections in place are the same, and you cannot be held liable for fraudulent charges.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Risk with paying someone with a personal check

Post by bltn »

livesoft wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:52 pm I have never worried about and never had fraud committed in more than 45 years of having accounts with checks and sending checks to lots of places and trades people, friends, enemies, stores, US government, state governments, utilities, whatever, wherever.
I agree .

If someone were able to cash a fraudulent check on my account, I would expect my bank to make good my loss. Maybe that s naive, but loss of bank account security due to payment with checks is very low on my list of worries.
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