I’ve written in the past about how to protect yourself when writing checks (see also “Checkbook Security“), but I haven’t talked much about “check washing.” Check washing refers to the chemical removal of ink from a check that you’ve written such that fraudsters can change the amount and make it payable to themselves. Apparently check washing results in losses totalling $815 million annually in the United States.
Obviously, the best way to protect yourself from check washing is to keep your checks out of the wrong hands in the first place. But failing that, is there anything else that you can do? According to an advertisement that we received that last time we ordered checks, the answer is yes…
Apparently Eberhard Faber has come out with a pen called the Uni-Ball 207 that features a “special ink” that gets “trapped in the paper, ” making check washing impossible. I have no idea how well these actually work but, for what it’s worth, these are apparently the only pens endorsed by identity thief turned identity theft expert Frank Abegnale (the subject of the movie Catch Me if You Can). Of course, as online billpay becomes the norm, this will become less and less of an issue.
Have any of you used these? If so, what did you like them? Next time I’m in the market for pens, maybe I’ll try them out.