Money Matters- Tips for Keeping Your Finances and Identity Safe

Greater Cleveland Law Enforcement has reported a significant increase in check fraud- especially through the mail- over the past few weeks. In response to these reports, Judson has curated a list of financial safety tips. This will be Part One of Three in our New Year Safety Series!

Electronic Money Transfers

While electronic banking may feel intimidating, it is the most effective way to ensure financial security and identity protection. We recommend:

  • Paying bills online or through mobile apps to avoid sending checks in the mail
  • Setting up automatic payments that deduct straight from your bank account each billing cycle
  • Working with your Power of Attorney or trusted family member to see what works best for you

 Mailing Checks

Electronic checks are usually the safest option. However, if you must send a paper check:

  • Be sure to use a business envelope; do not mail checks in cards or regular envelopes
  • Place the envelope directly in the slot for post-office pick-up. If you are allowing someone else to place the mail in the slot for you, be sure it is someone you trust
  • Follow up with any mailed checks and ensure the intended person received it

Keep Your Information Private

There is a myriad of ways thieves can obtain financial information. As such:

  • Always store checks and other bank documents in a secure location that you can easily remember
  • Destroy canceled or returned checks using a paper shredder. Be aware of phone scams that attempt to solicit bank information
  • Never share your financial information over the phone with anyone unless you are certain of their identity
  • If you suspect spam, do not panic. Contact Judson Security for assistance

Track Your Transactions

It is crucial to keep track of any financial transactions:

  • Review your monthly bank statements with trusted family or POA
  • You may be liable for any financial losses due to check fraud if they are not reported within 30 days
  • When you order new checks and receive them in the mail, review the numbers to make sure there are no missing checks. Report any missing checks to the bank. Notify the bank if you do not receive the checks on time as they might have been stolen or lost in transit

Writing Checks

When writing checks, always complete the entirety of the format:

  • Never leave pieces of personal information on your checks (date of birth, social security number, phone numbers, credit card numbers, etc.). This information can easily be used to commit identity fraud
  • Do not leave blank spaces on the check, especially on the “payable to” and “amount” lines. Otherwise, the check can be used by unauthorized parties
  • Use permanent ink pens when writing checks so that the information cannot be changed
  • Do not make a check payable to “Cash” because it can be immediately cashed if stolen

Key Points

  • Use electronic banking options whenever possible
  • Only share financial information with people you know and trust
  • Avoid mailing checks
  • Track your transactions
  • Fill out checks completely with a permanent ink pen
  • Work with your POA or trusted family to come up with a money security strategy

The intent of this message is not to instill fear, rather to raise awareness. If you suspect the presence of fraud, contact your bank and POA immediately. As always, your Judson Security team is here to help, too.

Judson Park Security: 216-791-2880

Judson Manor Security: 216-791-2578

South Franklin Circle Security: 440-247-1300

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