Counterfeiting MICR cheques increasing

01 July 2015

Although Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) cheques are believed to be full-proof against counterfeit, recent complaints lodged with the Bangladesh Bank indicate fraudsters are managing to copy them.
The central bank has asked all banks to report incidents of counterfeiting of cheques. At the same time it asked for suggestions on how to prevent such fraud.
MICR technology was introduced to stop cheque counterfeiters at a cost to the customer. Generally they only get one book free for the whole year and are charged for the rest. Many even do not issue a single cheque book free.
Bangladesh Bank officials said they are yet to receive response from all the banks but 13 banks have got back with complaints of  MICR cheque counterfeiting.
A foreign bank faced highest incidence of cheque fraud, reporting 18 cases. A private bank followed with 16 such complaints. Most of them involved   money being taken out from the bank through clearing even though the cheques or instruments issued to a customer was untouched.
Bangladesh Bank officials said although MICR cheques were thought to be full proof a number of counterfeiters have breached its protection.
They added chemicals readily available in the markets can be used to remove printed information on the cheques and reprint them to benefit counterfeiters.
The central bank has advised cheque printing organisations to improve security features. Three private and one public organisation print cheques in Bangladesh. They are Net World, Japan Bangladesh Printing Corporation, Secura Bangladesh Limited and Bangladesh Security and Printing Corporation.

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