Safeguards Against Bad Checks
Take the time to protect yourself. Adopt a firm, but courteous policy of accepting checks.
- Display a sign in your store or place of business, showing your cooperation with the Prosecutor's office. Not only will this put bad check writers on notice, but it may make your honest, regular customers a little more patient with your procedures.
- Identity must be established using a picture I.D. The writer's social security number, driver's license number and date of birth must be written on the face of the check at the time the check was issued and accepted. Make sure the check writer does not write their own I.D. on the check. Also, the presence of your handwriting on the check is another way for you to identify the check at a later date, which is required for prosecution.
- Compare all information on the check with that on the writer's I.D., including name, address and identifiers.
- Make sure the check is completely filled out. The check should be signed in your presence.
- Don't accept a Post Office Box for an address. Warrants can't be served to a Post Office Box. Ask for the street address.
- Do not accept the check if the name printed is not the same as the name of the person issuing the check.
- Company checks should have the writer's name visibly written on the check if not already in print.
- The initials of the person accepting the check should be recorded on the check at the time of acceptance. This will assist merchants in determining if an employee can identify the bad check writer if and when charges are filed.
- Be cautious when accepting checks with low check numbers, alterations and erasures.
- Do not accept two-party checks or counter checks.
- Do not agree to hold a check or take a postdated check.
- Do not accept partial payment on a check.
- Use common sense: If in doubt, call the bank and verify that the check is good.
- Weigh the possible loss you may take against the possible gain.
- Be doubly cautious on weekends and holidays. During these busy times, employees may be distracted and busy, and professional bad check writers capitalize on this.
- Do not permit yourself to become flustered by the shopper who is in a rush.
- Keep a log of all checks submitted to the Bad Check Program for your records.
Prevent Repeat Offenders
If a person's check has bounced before, do not take another check. Make a list of bad check writers for your employees. We urge you not accept checks from persons who live or bank out of state. It is difficult to obtain bank records from another state. In addition, extradition from other states is extremely expensive, and sometimes declined in cases, such as Bad Checks, where public safety is not a concern.
Types of Identification
Instruct your employees to compare the photo with the check writer's real appearance. Hair color and weight can always change, but check the age, race and sex. Is the address on the license the same as on the check? If not, ask for the correct address. Is the license valid, or has it expired? Never accept an expired license.
State I.D. Cards
These contain photographs, but are easily attainable. They should never be used as sole identification.