Depositing Checks Remotely – The Banks are on Top of this, Right?

Demystifying Valuation, Economic Damages + Forensic Accounting

Ah, the convenience of depositing a check right from my phone. How much easier could it get? Log onto my account, choose remote deposit, snap a picture of the front and back of the check and ABRACADABRA my check is deposited. No getting out to the bank or finding a deposit slip. Once I receive notification from my bank that the deposit has been accepted, I will typically write a note on the check indicating when and how I deposited it. Because frankly, I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning let alone whether or not a particular check has been deposited.

And apparently others can’t remember either. Individuals are finding that checks they have written for services are being cashed more than once. This is generally an honest mistake. The younger generations don’t typically balance their checkbooks as so many of us have been taught to do. And rather than combing through statements online, when they find a check that they can’t remember if they deposited or not, they just deposit it. This is known as double presentment. An area that some predict is ripe for fraud.

The banks are doing a pretty good job at catching most double presentments. But some smaller amounts have slipped through the cracks. And, if the check is presented via different channels (mobile deposit, ATM deposit, teller deposit) or at different institutions, it gets more difficult to catch a double presentment.

Be kind to those from whom you accept checks. If you deposit remotely, once you have confirmation from your bank that the deposit has been accepted, write on the check or simply destroy it. Don’t just throw it away for someone to find in the trash. And keep an eye on your own bank account if you still write checks.

Let’s stop the fraudsters before they can get started.

By Melissa E. Loughlin-Sines, CPA, CVA, CFE, CFF