This article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, it is a follow-up to an earlier article I wrote when someone questioned the safety of credit cards versus checks when making purchases online from an online genealogy vendor.
How would you like to hand someone a blank check? Pretty dumb, right? Well, you are doing just that if you send a check in the mail or hand a check to someone in a store.
Check washing is a growing problem, and it essentially puts a blank check in your name in the hands of criminals who are more than willing to fill out any dollar amount to their own bank accounts. Check washing is the process of taking a check that's already been filled out, removing the ink from the payee and amount lines, then re-writing in a new dollar amount and recipient. You can read the article at http://celtickane.com/projects/washing.
I have written before about the safety of credit cards versus checks. I am always amazed that some people still will not use credit cards online, even though such transactions are safer than using checks. (You can read one of my earlier articles at http://www.eogn.com/plus/online-safety.htm.)
Keep in mind that all VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards issued in the U.S. are fully protected against online fraud, and most are protected against offline fraud as well. Personal checks have no such protection.
Despite the beliefs of some people about using credit cards online, the truth is that credit cards are the safest method of paying for almost all transactions, online or off. Check washing is just one more reason why savvy consumers favor the safety of credit cards over unprotected personal checks.