Although bank cheques are being used less and less, they remain the most frequently defrauded cashless payment method in France. In response, the Banque de France is planning to tighten the requirements of its référentiel de sécurité du chèque (RSC).
Cheque fraud up 20% by 2020
In 2020, the number of fraudulent cheques increased by 20%, according to the latest annual report from the Observatoire de la sécurité des moyens de paiement. The amounts defrauded reached 538 million euros, or 42% of total fraud on cashless payment instruments.
The Observatory points out that cheques are the only means of payment to have seen a "significant" rise in fraud rates in 2020.
In a press release published on April 11, 2022, the Banque de France considers it necessary to "strengthen the requirements of the cheque security reference framework to transcribe the recommendations of the Observatory and ensure theirimplementation".
To limit cheque fraud, the institution calls on banks to follow two main recommendations:
- Combating fraudulent cheque remittances: identifying high-risk transactions and possible attempts to exfiltrate funds, developing cooperation between banks and law enforcement agencies;
- Reinforce vigilance when accepting cheques: improve traceability of cheque shipments and encourage stop payment in the event of theft or loss, enhance tools for consulting the Fichier national des chèques irréguliers (FNCI).
On this occasion, the Banque de France is also reiterating its advice to cheque users to be cautious.
How can I protect myself against cheque fraud?
In an awareness-raising campaign carried out in December 2021, the Banque de France was keen to remind users of the best practices to adopt to enable them toissue a cheque in complete security.
In particular, she advises :
- Use a non-erasable pen with black ink;
- Complete all required information: amount in figures and words, order, signature, date and place of issue;
- Draw horizontal lines to avoid leaving any free space on the order or amount;
- Limit erasures or overwriting that could invalidate the check.
To avoid the risk of loss or theft, the Banque de France recommends that you never lend your chequebook to anyone, not even close friends or family, and that you keep it in a safe place. Likewise, when requesting a new chequebook, it is preferable to collect it directly from a branch. If a chequebook is sent by post, and if there is a long delay, it is advisable to inform the bank as soon as possible, and then to stop payment on the chequebook concerned.