ITRC Solution 21
Check Washing 

Check washing is a simple, low-tech way to alter a check you have written. It is the chemical erasing of the handwritten parts of a check. The idea is to remove the ink while maintaining the overall appearance of the check and its preprinted items. The concern here is that these chemicals and solvents are readily available everywhere and with minimal knowledge, can be used to commit check fraud.

Once the “washing” has been accomplished, the payee and/or amount may be altered. Often times, the amount remains the same while only the payee is changed. This allows for it to pass by unnoticed when balancing your bank statement.

Tips for minimizing your risk of check washing include:

When ordering new checks, find out what security measures are being used by the manufacturer. These measures may include:

Other security measures available, which do not pertain directly to check washing, include:


This solution sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..