More than $1 billion in attempted check fraud was recorded by commercial banks in 1997, according to the American Bankers Association.

A survey of 446 banks, released by the association Monday, found nearly 290,000 cases of check fraud last year.

Large banks were the hardest hit, ABA said. Every bank with more than $5 billion of assets reported some check fraud in 1997. By comparison, just half of all banks with assets under $500 million detected such activity.

Overall, banks attributed more than half of their fraud cases to forgery. Though small banks said forgery was their biggest fraud concern, larger banks cited counterfeit checks as their greatest risk.

Large banks were also more likely than smaller ones to use technology to prevent check fraud, the association said.

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