ABA expert: Banks can’t fight check fraud alone

Check fraud is big problem that’s getting worse, American Bankers Association SVP Paul Benda told CNBC for a recent news segment on the crime. The report noted that check fraud is one of the oldest scams in finance, but it has recently been “supercharged” as a result of messaging platforms like Telegram, which allows criminals to hide their identities behind anonymous usernames. The platforms allow people who steal checks from the mail to connect with others who offer to walk the checks into banks so they can cash them. The latter are known as “walkers.”

Banks reported nearly 250,000 cases of check fraud nationwide in 2021, according to Financial Crimes Enforcement Network data cited by CNBC. That figure exploded last year, with nearly 460,000 cases reported. Benda said banks need help to fight the rising tide of fraud. “We can’t do it alone,” he said. “We really need the Postal Service to get better at protecting the mail. We really want law enforcement to step up their game and prosecute more of these cases.”