The rise of digital banking has lessened check usage, but they are still relied upon by many. Unfortunately for check users, recent reports show that check fraud is escalating dramatically thanks to mail theft. In fact, it nearly doubled from 350,000 reports in 2021 to 680,000 in 2022, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. In most instances, thieves steal checks, alter payee information, and present the stolen checks as their own.

While the Postal Service is installing thousands of high-security mailboxes and taking additional steps to reduce the risk, here’s what you can do now to protect yourself:

1. Secure your checks. 

Checks should be treated like cash. Do not keep them in vulnerable locations such as your car, public locker, or other places a scammer can access. Keep your checks in a secure area, such as a locked filing cabinet or safe deposit box. If you must mail checks, drop them off inside the post office or in a locked, secure mailbox. 

If you’ve experienced lost, stolen or delayed mail, visit to check the status or submit a missing mail form.

2. Consider electronic alternatives.

Don’t give thieves the opportunity to steal your checks. Consider using online payment platforms or alternative payment methods like Bill Pay, ACH, or Zelle®. You can often do so directly through your bank’s online or mobile banking app. Not only does this reduce your risk of check fraud, but it’s also more convenient. 

3. Monitor account activity.

Lastly, monitor your account for unusual activity. If a check clears for a different amount or it’s taken an unusual amount of time for a check to clear, report it to your financial institution. Some institutions, like FirstBank, allow you to conveniently monitor your accounts via text and email alerts or using Positive Pay* (for FirstBank business clients).

FirstBank strives to provide you with the resources and tools you need to keep your money safe. If you notice your checks, identification, or wallet are missing or stolen, immediately contact FirstBank at 1-800-964-3444. Learn more by visiting our Fraud Protection page at 

*FirstBank’s Internet Cash Management (ICM) Service is required to use Positive Pay. Additional fees apply. Subject to approval. See any FirstBank location for complete details.

Zelle®: Zelle® and the Zelle® related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.

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