Information > Financial Terms > This page

Source: Encyclopedia of Banking & Finance (9h Edition) by Charles J Woelfel
(We recommend this as work of authority.)

In its broadest interpretation, "making or altering any document with the intention of prejudicing another person."

A statutory definition of forgery considers it to include false making, counterfeiting, and the alteration, erasure, or obliteration of a genuine instrument, in whole or in part, the false making or counterfeiting of the signature of a party or witness, and the placing or connecting together with intent to defraud different parts of several genuine instruments.

Thus placing a false signature on a check, raising the amount, or changing the payee's name or the number of the check with intention to defraud constitutes forgery.  The alteration of a passbook entry likewise is forgery.  Forgery is a statutory crime and is punishable by imprisonment.  The following precautions against check forgeries should be taken:

  1. Never cash a check for a stranger until he is identified by you through someone you know and upon whom you can rely.

  2. Never accept a check just because it looks businesslike.  Criminals frequently counterfeit checks of well-known concerns.

  3. always verify bank certifications through the certifying bank.  Certifications are frequently counterfeited by criminals.

  4. Never do what a stranger suggests in order to identify him, unless the suggestion leads to identification through someone you know and upon whom you can rely.  He may have arranged with an accomplice to give you misinformation.

  5. Never sign a check in blank or make it out payable to cash or bearer unless absolutely necessary.

  6. Never leave your checkbook or cancelled vouchers where anyone else can get hold of them.

  7. Always write your checks carefully with good ink, typewriter, or checkwriter which will indent the paper.  Begin each line at the left-hand side and leave no spaces between your words.

  8. Be sure to have a safe place for delivery of your business mail.  Do not depend on the type of box that can be easily opened by a criminal.

  9. If possible never let anyone else check your bank book with paid and cancelled checks returned from the Bank.  This is the one thing that every businessperson should do monthly and personally whenever possible.


Back to Information