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Commerce Bank launches innovative program to help protect customers from check fraud.

When you pay by check, you shouldn’t have to worry whether your transaction is secure. Unfortunately, check fraud is rising — nearly doubling over the last year.1

Commerce Bank has developed an innovative way to address this growing problem by helping protect customers from check fraud. Our new, free Texting for Check Fraud program alerts customers of potentially suspicious activity. Although reviewing your monthly statements in a timely manner is always the first line of defense against fraud, Commerce Bank hopes this service will aid in our efforts to prevent check fraud.

“Texting is a preferred communication method for many Commerce Bank customers,” says Sandy Ozier, Manager of Enterprise Fraud. “It seems to be more efficient and effective than a phone call, and it gives customers earlier notification of a possible problem so we can resolve it for them faster,” she adds.

Commerce is one of only a few financial institutions offering a text-based check fraud service. “In fact, the idea for the program came from our annual Hackathon, a company-wide event that encourages Commerce team members to collaborate on creative solutions that improve our products and services,” says Ozier.

How does Texting for Check Fraud work?

  • Commerce Bank’s Fraud Detection Unit and Risk Mitigation Team uses advanced fraud detection tools and technology to quickly identify suspicious checks as they’re being processed. If we detect a suspicious check written from your Commerce Bank account, you’ll receive a text message on the mobile number we have on file.
  • Please be aware that the bank’s systematic fraud detection tools are not able to guarantee that every instance of fraud will be detected and flagged. It is still very important for you to monitor your account for suspicious activity and notify the bank if you observe any inaccurate transactions.
  • The text will come from 28234 so you’ll know in advance that it’s from Commerce Bank. Note: screen shot of what the text/verbiage will look like on a mobile phone.
  • The text will instruct you to review the check image in question by logging into Online Banking or the Commerce Bank mobile app and confirm whether or not the check is legitimate. Or you may call the Bank’s Check Fraud staff at (833) 554-0252 or visit your local branch.
  • View images of the checks that have cleared in your account to verify that they are the amount you wrote them for and that they are going to the correct payee. If you don’t believe a check is legitimate, follow the instructions to report the check.
  • You should respond to the text as quickly as possible. You can respond by replying to the text or calling the number in the text message.

It’s important that we have your correct contact information so we can reach you quickly.

Commerce Bank customers with an up-to-date mobile number on file, and who haven't opted out of text Alerts, may receive text Alerts.

“If we don’t have a customer’s mobile number on file, or if the customer doesn’t respond to the text, we will attempt to call them,” says Bob Wessler, risk advisor, Commerce Bank. Account holders can confirm their contact information on our mobile app, online, by visiting a local branch or by contacting us.

How do fraudsters alter checks?

Fraudsters often attempt to steal outgoing checks from USPS® blue collection box and alter them, sometimes known as “check washing,” to change the payee or amount. Wessler says that counterfeit checks are another type of fraud. “This happens when duplicate checks are created using account and routing number information found on a legitimate check,” he explains.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you file your taxes electronically and mail a check to the IRS for taxes owed. A criminal steals the check from the mailbox, changes the payee and deposits the check. You may notice that the correct check amount clears and assume that everything is fine — until you discover that your check was never received by the intended payee.

Take these additional steps to help prevent check fraud.

One of the most important steps you can take is to understand how fraudsters work and be aware of common scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers more tips and resources on how to spot, avoid and report fake check scams.

Here are more tips to help lower your risk of check fraud:

  • Deliver checks in person or mail them inside a post office. Don’t leave checks in a home mailbox with the flag up or in outdoor USPS® blue collection boxes.
  • Review your bank accounts regularly. Commerce Bank customers can view paid checks through Online Banking or our mobile app.
  • Use electronic payment options when possible.

Commerce is always looking for innovative ways to protect our customers.

The safety and security of your financial accounts is our top priority. “Texting for Check Fraud is just one example of what we’re doing to protect your money, and we’ll continue to develop solutions that help prevent fraud and keep our customers’ accounts secure,” says Wessler.

For more information about the Texting for Check Fraud service, visit our FAQ page. If you have questions or concerns about keeping your accounts secure, visit your nearest branch or contact us today.

1 “FinCEN Alert on Nationwide Surge in Mail Theft-Related Check Fraud Schemed Targeting the U.S. Mail,” Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, posted Feb. 27, 2023, https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-alert-nationwide-surge-mail-theft-related-check-fraud-schemes-targeting