By Daniel Hunter

The latest figures from Financial Fraud Action UK show that cheque fraud losses have risen 17% in 2011, compared to 2010.

Leading credit risk expert, Equifax, believes this represents a real threat to those businesses that accept cheques and direct debits as payment.

“Old-fashioned fraud methods appear to be returning to popularity” said Neil Lewis, Head of Consumer Products, Equifax. “In particular, Financial Fraud Action UK suggests the increase in cheque fraud losses is due to fraudsters stealing genuine cheques and altering the payee name, or using details from genuine cheques to create, often quite convincing, counterfeits.

“Most times, fraudulent activity is spotted before a cheque bounces and money is paid out, but companies still expend time and effort in the process, which they can ill-afford to waste in the current economic climate. We are, therefore, urging businesses that accept cheques to increase the level of protection they apply to this payment method."

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