Check Printing: Analyzing the Hidden Dangers within its Murky Waters

Eric Howard July 13, 2023

Individuals and businesses managing payrolls, issuing checks, and tellers must successfully navigate through the murky waters of the financial sector to avoid its hidden dangers. These hidden dangers include legacy or outdated firmware, unsecured check paper or older preprinted stock, generic toners, and the fraudsters or sharks who exploit them. American victims of these hidden dangers lost approximately $42 billion and reported 3 million cases of fraud initiated by fraudsters. 

These numbers paint a bleak picture and highlight the fact that many businesses and individuals do not understand the nature of the hidden dangers associated with check printing and payroll management. To successfully protect yourself and your business from the dangers and sharks lurking in financial waters, we will highlight these dangers and how they are implemented.

What Is Fraud, who is a Fraudster, and What are The Risks?

Fraud refers to the use of dishonest processes to gain financial or other benefits from a business or an individual. These other benefits may be special treatment or access to goods and services without making the necessary payments.

Fraudsters or sharks, which are a part of the hidden dangers, refer to the individuals involved in the criminal process of defrauding the business or people of their financial items, services, or goods. The Fraudster employs the use of confidence tricks to gain personal or business-related information that is then manipulated to trick the targeted business or individual.

In most cases, the risks associated with a successful fraud incident are financial in nature, but it also comes with a loss of brand reputation and shame. This is why many affected individuals or businesses do not report fraud-related incidents.

The Hidden Dangers Lurking within the Check Printing and Industrial Sector.

  1. Utilizing Outdated Firmware – Using check printing technologies or printers with outdated firmware is one of the most overlooked threats that provide loopholes anyone can exploit. The dangerous loopholes associated with outdated firmware include a lack of ransomware protection, disruption of normal business operations, and the opportunity to install spyware. These hidden loopholes enable fraudsters to capture the sensitive data required to commit check fraud. While some fraudsters may sell the captured data for a fee, others utilize the stolen information such as your check design, signatories, and payment details to create fraudulent checks or manipulate existing checks within the outdated system.
  2. Utilizing Non-MICR Toner – The use of generic toners to print checks provide hackers with a backdoor to execute fraudulent activities such as check manipulation or issuing fake checks. Here, once a shark sniffs out businesses that utilize generic toners or ink to write its checks, it locks on and looks for ways to acquire those checks. Here, mail theft and other vices can give the fraudster access to these checks. The fraudster then writes a check or changes a few details on the check using generic magic ink or toners to ensure the payment is diverted to their account.
  3. Vulnerabilities in Check Management Software – Businesses and individuals who have embraced the use of digital technology to automate and manage the check printing process must also look out for outdated and vulnerable software. Hackers utilize phishing techniques to seek out vulnerabilities within check printing software or platforms that can be exploited to capture sensitive information. Where vulnerabilities exist, fraudsters can implement check manipulation schemes to steal your working capital.
  4. The use of Pre-printed Stock – Many businesses still utilize old, insecure, preprinted check stock to make payments because why throw away something that was paid for? What you may not realize is that these older check stocks attract the attention of fraudsters and hackers like hungry sharks hiding in blood-infested waters. Once older stocks have been accessed, the fraudster manipulates the paper to write cashable checks.
  5. Fraudsters – Fraudsters lurk around vulnerable check printing and management processes to seek out vulnerabilities they can exploit. Like a shark, the fraudster circles around your end-to-end check printing process seeking out any loophole to latch onto. These loopholes could be any of the other four hidden dangers outlined in this list.

How TROY can Help You to Identify Hidden Threats and Eliminate Them

TROY Group provide best-in-class solutions with the aim of developing fraud-resistant processes for printing checks. This means ones your checks are printed using these solutions, they are largely immune to the different types of fraud outlined above.

  1. MICR Technology – MICR solutions include TROY’s MICR printer and toners. TROY printers integrate security features such as lock trays, user authentication, and display monitors to manage the check printing process. These features are targeted at preventing internal check fraud by ensuring accountability for every printer used and every check printed. MICR printers are built to identify checks designed using MICR toners. Hence both solutions work together to stop the sharks.

    Unlike generic ink, MICR toners used in designing secure checks utilize anti-tamper technology to eliminate check manipulation or washing. Any attempt to wash a check developed with MICR toners results in a leakage of red dye that ruins the check. Also, the use of magic ink would result in a disfigured check with obvious changes on its writing surface.

  2. Streamlining the Check Printing Process – The use of old, pre-printed stock provides the loopholes sharks need to issue fake checks, steal, and use magic ink to manipulate checks. TROY offers individuals the option of mobile printers and secure blank stock to ensure check printing is done at need. For businesses, the TROY high-volume bundle consisting of desktop printers, blank stock, and MICR toners enable businesses to print unlimited volumes of checks at need. Hence, eliminating the need to stock up on preprinted checks that can be stolen and illegally copied or used by fraudsters.
  3. Automate and Secure the Check Printing Process – The use of check printing software that offers extra protective layers such as watermarks customization, signatory authorization, and a digital streamlined process to send and track checks. AssurePay eliminates the need for any middleman to type checks or transfer checks from one department to another. Hence, reducing the possibility of check manipulation by internal staff. Also, the ability to create and track digital checks means your business can eliminate the role mail snatching plays in check fraud.

Protect Your Checks with TROY Solutions

Eliminating the financial and reputational damage that comes with check fraud is every business owner, manager, and individual’s responsibility. The MICR technology solutions and software we offer reduce the labor associated with protecting checks, simplify your check printing processes, and reduce your total overhead cost. You can get started with using eliminating check fraud by contacting a TROY Group representative today. 

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