We have recently had several claims involving fraudulent checks. Sororities aren’t the only victims. In an alert sent out in February, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as FinCEN, reported that, “Despite the declining use of checks in the United States, criminals have been increasingly targeting the U.S. Mail since the COVID-19 pandemic to commit check fraud.” Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods, making it crucial for organizations to stay vigilant. These fraudulent activities encompass a range of tactics, including counterfeit checks, altered payee information, and even identity theft to gain access to legitimate bank accounts. As a result, it is imperative for chapter and house corporation officers and volunteers to be aware of these risks and adopt strategies to mitigate the threat of check fraud. We recommend the following strategies:
- Secure your checks: Store your checkbook, blank checks, and deposit slips in a secure and locked location. Limit access to these items to only trusted individuals. Consider using a secure check stock with built-in security features like watermarks or microprinting.
- Try and limit exposure by reducing check use. Transitioning to electronic checks and digital payment methods reduce the risk associated with paper checks.
- Make sure you’re following internal safety measures. Chubb Insurance, the insurance company who writes your Crime Insurance Coverage, has some basic risk management rules and guidelines for the entities under your organization’s national insurance policy. These conditions are referred to as “required conditions” and list out specific requirements in the financial management to ensure that there is dual control of the financial transactions at all times. These measures help prevent check fraud, as well as other financial crimes. Read more here.
- Consider Positive Pay: Enroll in Positive Pay services offered by your bank. This service helps detect discrepancies by matching the checks presented for payment with a list of authorized checks you’ve issued. Positive pay procedures set permissions in a checking account, so the company gets confirmation before a check or ACH Debit against your company is processed. ACH: ACH stands for Automated Clearing House and is a network that transactions pass through in the United States. The network exists to manage the transfers and organize them. ACH debit is the transaction executed through the Automated Clearing House Network.
- Train employees and volunteers: Educate employees and volunteers about the risks of check fraud and teach them how to recognize signs of suspicious activity. Ensure they understand the importance of safeguarding sensitive financial information.
- Stay informed: Keep yourself informed about the latest trends in check fraud and adapt your prevention strategies accordingly. Criminals continually evolve their tactics, so staying up-to-date is essential. Count on MJ Sorority to continually monitor the trends and communicate new strategies to you.
This edition of the MJ Sorority newsletter covers the following topics: property market insurance update, building a reserve fund, addressing check fraud , 2024 economic outlook, FAQs, and more.
March 2022: Topics include property claims trends, spring weather resources, FAQ on hiring contractors, 2022 MJ Housing Forum recordings and more!
Claims Corner: The Basics – We discuss what is a claim, what to do in the event of a claim, and more.
In the Event of a Claim
Take action quickly.
When the unexpected happens, report your claim right away to put yourself in the surest position—and best enable us to help. It’s not just smart practice; letting us know about a claim is your responsibility as an insured, so don’t get in the way of your recovery by skipping this important step.
Note: In most cases, Heather Cox is your first point of contact when you have a claim. But for an emergency, please call Cindy Stellhorn.
In the event of a claim:
In an emergency:
Getting in touch with us won’t be the beginning and end of your response. Here’s a list of actions to take for various kinds of claims.
- Property: First, do whatever is necessary to prevent further damage from occurring. Then call Heather with the date and description of your loss, and estimates for repair or replacement of your damaged items.
- Injuries to Employees: Within five days of the injury, fill out an Employer’s First Report of Injury Form and e-mail it to Heather.
- Injuries to Members or to the Public: Make no statements accepting blame, treat any potential or actual claim or lawsuit as a high priority item, and immediately notify your organization headquarters and MJ; contact Heather with names, date of loss, and details of incident.
- Embezzlement or Forgery: When you have reason to suspect financial foul play, your first step is to remove all financial responsibilities from the person in question. After you’ve done that, give us a call to discuss moving forward with a claim.