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Signing it All Away

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The easiest (but most dangerous) way to endorse a check is to just sign the back. A simple signature, known as a blank endorsement, allows anybody to do anything they want. They can deposit it to your account, their account, or sign it over to somebody else.

Too Risky

Simply signing the back of a check is risky. You should only do this if you’re at the bank getting ready to deposit the check. If you’ll mail the check, deposit it at an ATM, or carry it around for a while, do something else: either leave it unsigned or add a restriction to the endorsement.

What’s the worst that can happen? A scammer (let’s call him 'John Doe') can add instructions under your signature. If he writes 'Pay to the order of John Doe', he may be able to cash the check or deposit it to his account.

You or the bank may be able to find out what happened and recover the money, but why take the risk? Avoid potential headaches with a little caution.

Return to the main page on How to Endorse Checks.

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