Uni-Ball 207 Checks Out!

We love this pen, with ink resistant to check washing

Sending checks is risky business. After all, every check has your name, address, bank routing number and account number on it, and comes complete with your signature! In addition to providing a wealth of information to potential identity thieves, the checks themselves can be washed and then fraudulently cashed for thousands of dollars.

Check washing refers to the chemical removal of ink from a check that you’ve written, such that criminals can change the amount and make it payable to themselves. According to the National Check Fraud Center, check washing fraud results in losses of $815 million annually in the United States, so its not a rarity!

uniballThe best way to protect yourself from check washing is to keep checks out of the wrong hands. You should always use a USPS Blue Box for outgoing mail since no mailbox, even a locking mailbox, is secure for outgoing mail. Short of that, however, another way you can protect your checks is to prevent them from being washed.

The Uni-Ball 207 is an innovative pen that features a special ink that gets trapped in the paper, making the ink resistant to washing. These pens are endorsed by identity thief turned identity theft expert Frank Abegnale (the subject of the movie Catch Me if You Can).

Here at Epoch Design we love the Uni-Ball 207 pen, with ink resistant to check washing. A few years back, we had a standard accounts payable check intercepted presumably en route or upon arrival to the payee (as it was sent from a secure USPS Blue Box). We were not aware of this until we saw that it had been cashed in New York City, a long way from its intended destination. Someone had washed the printer ink off our business check and made it out to themselves to the tune of over $10,000. While our bank was able to resolve the matter after over four months of haggling, we have since learned our lesson. Now, we write all of our business checks with a Uni-Ball 207 pen, in addition to bringing all outgoing mail to the USPS. (Of course we get all of our incoming mail including checks in a Mail Boss security locking mailbox!)

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You can find the Uni-Ball 207 at your local drug or office store, or you can get an 8-pack for $10.99 at Amazon, a very small price to pay for preventing the nightmare of check washing.

4 Comments

  1. Monica on July 12, 2008 at 8:42 am

    It was a big hassle for Epoch Design to get the funds back from the bank. It appeared they needed to rule out our involvement with that fraud and they did a thorough investigation with affadavits and all that. If you think about it, businesses with established banking relationships are in a unique business to be in cahoots with fraudsters. I think the banks are really concerned about that.

  2. MailBoss on February 16, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    A new commercial Uni-Ball is running:
    http://videogum.com/archives/commercials/s-epatha-merkerson-will-terrif_045001.html

    I have to say, they are perpetuating a false notion though. They’re using the fear of identity theft to sell pens, but they are confusing check-washing FRAUD (where someone takes a check and changes the payee and/or the amount) with identity theft. Check-washing Fraud is a problem, but its easier to rectify than the nightmare of identity theft.

  3. Kitty Arundel on March 18, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Cheers for this valuable article. Often, the very best knowledge come from the blogs one wouldn’t expect. Not long ago, I decided not to give so much thought to commenting on weblog articles and have left responses even less. Viewing your helpful post, is going to motivate me to do this often.

  4. Carolyn Kurtz on August 28, 2020 at 7:35 am

    Are ALL Uniball 207s safe from check washing? There are at least several types of 207s that I’m wondering if it’s only SOME of them that are safe.

    Thank you for your help.

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