I read this but it didn't ask the question I want answered. How is Chase Mobile Deposit Secure?

What I want to know is how do they avoid accepting a Photoshopped check?

When someone gives me a printed check(which is the majority of checks I get), I could extremely easily take it, change the value on it (including the text portion) to some arbitrary number, change the date to a couple days before I plan on depositing it, and advance the check number by 20 or so, so that the bank doesn't see it as a check that has already been deposited. As one last precaution in case they check the signature for matching a previous check exactly, I can take the person's signature off and Photoshop in one from another document or really old check.

Once I forge the check on the computer, I could print it out and cut it to the right size. Take the picture, and now what? Does Chase have any way to verify that it is not a real check other than waiting to see if the other customer to says something about it?

(as a side note, if I tried to bring this into a bank, it would be very obvious that it is fake)

It doesn't help in Chase's favor that the app takes such LOW quality pictures either. That problem works in my favor because even somewhat large defects in my Photoshopping will be completely hidden by the low quality picture.

[edit] We should assume the forged check looks just like the real one in the picture taken by the app (because it actually would.)

Just it would be check number 520 instead of 500 so that the bank doesn't see it as a duplicate.

  • 1
    You need to read the answers on the referenced question. The point is, they don't need to. You can do all those things with physical cheques. – schroeder Oct 9 '14 at 2:27
  • I read all the comments on that and it does not answer my question, but it does get kind of close. I'm not sure how to clarify my question much better unfortunately. – Dark Pumpkin Oct 9 '14 at 3:36

Suppose I write you a check and you deposit it, but also produce a forgery that you deposit a few days later. Soon or late, when I reconcile my account, the forgery will be detected, I'll complain to my bank, and my bank will claw back the money from your account at Chase. Doesn't matter whether it's paper or a picture.

If the forgery happens to overdraw my account, it'll be detected at once, even if I have "overdraft protection," because I'll be notified that the protection kicked in. Otherwise, it'll be detected during reconciliation of my account.

That is why well-run businesses keep only a few bucks more than their outstanding checks in their operating account, have a separate account for payroll, etc.


So the linked question How is Chase Mobile Deposit Secure? does answer this, just not explicitly.

The important thing to remember for this specific scenario is that there is nothing magical about the piece of paper you're thinking of when you picture a check. Just because you get a nice little pre-printed pad of checks from your bank doesn't mean that they're particularly special, and there's something intrinsic to those pieces of paper that make them checks that no other piece of paper has. You can buy third party checks from non-bank vendors, who'll send you a pad with any routing and bank account number you specify. You can also buy blank checks, and print them up on your printer. Businesses that issue a high volume of checks often do this, and there's nothing stopping an individual from doing the same thing. Technically speaking, you can also take a blank piece of paper and hand-write the required information on it, make it a legal check. (Good luck finding someone who will accept it, but it is possible.)

So, once you realize that there's nothing special about the piece of paper itself, nothing that can't be forged, then it should be more clear that the bank's fraud detection mechanisms don't rely on examining that piece of paper. If they can examine the check, and determine that there's a problem with it, great. They've stopped the fraud early. If they can't, however, it isn't a big deal since they need to be able to detect fraud in checks that otherwise appear to be perfectly valid.

So, the fraud detection happens later, either by being rejected by the ACH system when a problem is detected in the specific details of the forgery, or when, as Bob described in his answer when the account holder you're attempting to defraud sees the unauthorized activity on his or her account.


I think that question have the answer: they don't have to verify more than they already do. Check routing numbers are all that they need, and they do it for a long time.

You forgot that they know your name, address, SSN and a lot about you. Yes, you can pass a counterfeit check once, but they WILL know it sooner or later, and they will Chase you. They will make you pay every penny (and a lot of extra pennies), sooner or later.

Afgter all, they are banks, and banks care a lot about their money.

  • What does the routing number have to do with it? If I am forging someone else's check, the routing number on every check is the same. I just looked at my checkbook, and every check has the same routing number and account number. – Dark Pumpkin Oct 9 '14 at 3:32
  • The routing number is used to identify the bank, not the check. The check has its own number. You can forge checks for banks that does not exist, but your bank will find it, and will take all the money back from your account. – ThoriumBR Oct 9 '14 at 11:41

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