How cheque fraud works

While contactless and electronic payment methods are increasing, cheques are still a very common payment method. Individuals that are more susceptible to cheque fraud include newcomers who've arrived from countries that still use cheques regularly, seniors who don't use online banking technologies, and those who are in vulnerable financial situations such as fluctuating income or debt. Understanding how cheque fraud happens is key to protecting yourself. Here's a common scenario:

  1. You deposit the fraudster's cheque into your account
  2. The fraudster pressures you to send money before the cheque clears
  3. Your financial institution determines the cheque is fake, but you've already lost the money you sent

Types of bad cheques

Fraudsters design counterfeit cheques to look just like your bank cheques. Counterfeit cheques can also take the form of a cashier's cheque, money order or bank draft. 

Fraudsters steal legitimate cheques and forge your signature. 

Fraudsters steal cheques that are written to you. They forge your signature on the back of the cheque and deposit it into their account. 

Fraudsters change the details on a valid cheque, such as the payee, date or amount. 

Stay safe with our tips

  • Store cheques in a secure location.
  • Shred unused cheques if you've closed your accounts.
  • Check your account regularly and report any unauthorized transactions.
  • Take advantage of more secure electronic payment options, such as Interac e-Transfer, direct deposit or pre-authorized payments.

  • Look for alterations, such as inconsistent handwriting or added letters and numbers.
  • Refuse cheques that are made out to someone else but have been signed over to you. It's best to only accept cheques from people you know directly.
  • Don't send money or gift cards to strangers after they've given you a cheque to deposit.
  • If you're selling something, refuse cheques that are more than the stated price.
  • Make sure cheques are dated correctly. Don't agree to hold cheques until a future date or accept post-dated cheques.
  • Wait for a cheque you've deposited to clear before you transfer funds. 

Notice anything suspicious? Let us know

Explore more about cheque fraud

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Opens in a new window.

Report fraud when it happens and track the latest data on fraud happening in Canada.

The Little Black Book of Scams Opens in a new window.

Download the Canadian Competition Bureau's guide to scams in 8 different languages.

Canadian Bankers Association Opens in a new window.

Read about the latest news and trends in fraud awareness and prevention.