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Thumbprint Signature Program
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Thumbprint Signature Program

Deterring Counterfeit and Stolen Check Fraud

Montana financial institutions began using a new security device in April 1998, the Thumbprint Signature Touch Pad. The touch pad is intended to deter counterfeit and stolen check fraud by obtaining a Thumbprint Signature (fingerprint) from non-customers (customers who do not have a depository relationship with the bank) when cashing "on-us" and "not-on-us" checks. The thumbprints can be used by law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fraud claims made by account holders, and bank's usage of the program is a natural deterrent. Participants will not retain the thumbprints in their files and only in cases of suspected fraud, will the signature be shared with law enforcement officials.

Thumbprint Signature has become very popular with banks of all sizes because it offers an easy, inexpensive way to prevent fraud without inconveniencing customers. Other participants include a wide variety of businesses such as check-cashing establishments, liquor stores, grocery and convenience stores, and more. While the program is designed to deter check fraud, it has also proven to be an effective crime fighting tool. Thumbprint Signatures have been used in check-fraud cases, and criminals have been convicted and are currently serving jail sentences.

Note: The Thumbprint Signatures are not used in place of standard forms of identification, but is recorded in addition to customary I.D.

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