Greensboro, NC -- Identity theft is one of the top 10 consumer complaints at the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.
Last month, WFMY News 2 gave a Greensboro Police officer one one minute to go through a car.
In that short amount of time, he found several items that could give a thief access to your home or your bank account, including your checkbook.
According to police, someone can steal your checkbook, copy your checks and order new ones with their name on them.
Few of us write checks more than once or twice a month.
We've traded paper for plastic, which you might not even realize, is a pretty good way to protect yourself.
Your debit and credit cards have fraud protections that your checks don't.
However, for those of us who write an occasional check, or still use them regularly, WFMY News 2's Lauren Melvin found some pointers you've probably never thought about.
According to the folks at Digital Federal Credit Union, you should first make sure your checks have security features. If you got them from your bank, they probably do.
Also, when you're writing a check, you should always use a ball point pen. Other types of pen ink could be water-soluble, which means crooks can remove the ink from the paper.
You should also print everything but your signature. Cursive writing is much easier to alter.
Also, fill in any unused space on the face of your checks with a line to prevent anyone from adding information.
When you don't need your checkbook, or when you're going out of town, leave your checkbook at home, protected from anyone who could have access to your house. You should treat copies of checks the same way.
And instead of just writing "void" on a check you no longer plan to use, shred it so no one can see those numbers at the bottom.
Something else to consider, a check that's made out to you can still be stolen and spent by someone else. So don't endorse a check until you actually get to the bank.
If you do lose a check or it's stolen, report it immediately so your bank can do what they can to stop that withdrawal.
WFMY News 2