To prevent business fraud, learn to recognize it before it is too late. Here are common frauds to watch out for.


Contributing to losses from bad checks and credit cards is the use of false I.D. To minimize this problem, require at least one primary I.D. that is preferably backed by at least one secondary I.D.

Primary I.D. – Washington State driver’s license with a photo. Do not accept temporary licenses. Washington State identification card.

Secondary I.D. – Check guarantee card with an ‘unexpired’ expiration date. Major credit card with expiration date.

Never accept the following cards as I.D. – Membership cards, library cards, card that appears to be altered or a card that is unfamiliar to you, Social Security cards, temporary cards or I.D.

Credit Card Fraud

Do not accept credit cards without proof of identity, or without checking the ‘Hot Sheet’ or telephoning for authorization. Watch for these telltale signs of credit card fraud:

  • The card has been altered, has expired or is not yet valid.
  • Signatures on the card and sales slip do not match
  • The customer makes several purchases in the same department, all under the amount of the floor limit or, which would require an authorization call to the card issuer.

Telephone Scams

The best advise is to not take on other billed to a credit card account over the telephone. There is just no way you can be sure the purchaser is legitimate.

When You Are Suspicious

Call for authorization, indicate your suspicions and follow instructions. Remember, always destroy carbons so credit card numbers and names do not fall into the wrong hands.

Bad Checks

There are a number of ways that fraudulent or stolen checks can bounce into your business. Stolen checks can be forged. Legitimate checks might be altered to show higher amounts. Pay close attention to the appearance of all checks. If any of these telltale signs are present, you may be looking at a bad check. Ask for an alternative form of payment.

  • No perforation on top or left side of check
  • Apparently altered writing or erasures
  • Water spots or alterations of the check’s color or graphic background
  • Number under 500 (denotes new accounts)
  • Post-dated
  • Glossy rather than dull finish of magnetic ink (numbers along bottom of check)

Do not accept checks where:

  • Signature does not match imprinted name on check and on I.D.
  • Does not show the name, branch, city and state where the bank is located.
  • Numerical amount does not agree with the written amount.

Remember these important guidelines for prosecution:

  • At the time the check was accepted, a WSDL must have been presented for identification.
  • The license number and expiration date must be written on the check along with the initials of the person accepting the check.
  • The person accepting the check must have compared the photo on the license with the person presenting the check. This person must also compare the signatures on the license and the endorsement of the check.
  • The check must have been accepted within the city limits of Seattle.
  • The original check must be made available to the police.
  • No checks will be accepted that are drawn on accounts of out-of-area banks.
  • No two-party checks will be accepted.
  • No post-dated checks will be accepted.
  • No check will be accepted if at the time it was accepted by a business, it was accepted with the knowledge that there were insufficient funds in the account.
  • Checks should be submitted for prosecution within 90 days.
  • Checks are accepted by the police department for prosecution purposes only. If only restitution is desired, do not submit the check; keep the check and pursue civil action to recover the loss.