Fraud via disappearing ink


in Oxford, Security

A particularly cunning sort of fraud is occurring in the UK right now: someone comes to your door and convinces you to donate to worthy charity X. You agree, and bring out your chequebook. The fraudster hands you their pen, to fill out the cheque. The ink of of a vanishing sort and, after the transaction, the fraudster traces your signature from the groove in the paper, (generally) re-writes the original amount for the cheque, then puts their own name as the payee. Since most people only check amounts (and banks check nothing at all, unless the customer asserts that fraud has taken place) the fraudster makes off with however many charitable donations.

My personal inclination is to see this as one more among many reasons why cheques are no longer a decent form of payment.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous November 29, 2006 at 3:40 am


Next time such a person provides their pen, for check singing, have them also write “I am not a crook” on a piece of paper. If those words vanish, hunt them down and exterminate them.

Meghan November 29, 2006 at 9:07 pm

Or how about using your own pen, which you can be sure does not have disappearing ink?

Milan November 30, 2006 at 12:26 am

Good suggestions, both. Though the first may have unintended and serious legal consequences.

Meghan November 30, 2006 at 9:18 pm

I think the serious legal consequences of the first suggestion (ie: being charged with 1st degree murder) are not at all unintended. However, the consequences are unlikely, unless there is some ability to trace people through the remnents of the words “I am not a crook” that I don’t know about.

PS – I’d love to see a cheque sing. I wonder what the tune would be like?

BlackHat January 30, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Using a fountain pen would help ensure you didn’t leave grooves on the check, by which the original written words could be discerned.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: