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Bad Checks

How To Protect Yourself And What To Do If You Are A Victim

Dear Neighbor:

My office investigates and prosecutes people who victimize individuals and small businesses in Nassau County by passing bad checks. The issuing of a bad check is a crime.

The writer of any check may be presumed to know whether or not he or she has enough money to cover the check when the check is issued. We recognize that many people do issue checks against insufficient funds because of an innocent mistake. For this reason, my office thoroughly investigates all complaints before a criminal prosecution is begun. We also recognize the seriousness of the problems caused by this activity and that it is essential to often pursue these complaints.

This brochure is aimed at informing you of measures you can take to prevent yourself from being victimized by a bad check, and secondly, to inform you of the steps to take if you are, unfortunately, a victim.

                                                                Sincerely yours,
Kathleen M. Rice
District Attorney

DON'T FALL VICTIM TO A BAD CHECK FOLLOW THESE RULES

Beware of strangers attempting to cash checks. Look for temporary addresses, such as hotels, rooming houses, post office box numbers, etc.

Have the person sign the check in your presence and be sure to get the person's address and a telephone number on the back of the check.

Insist upon proper and recognizable identification and examine it carefully. Make a note on the back of the check as to the person's physical description and motor vehicle operator's license number (make sure it is a New York State license). In order to bring a prosecution, you must be able to identify the person who issued the check.

When in doubt, don't cash a check. Ask the person to come back later with cash.

Examine the check carefully. Check the date and amount making sure that nothing has been altered, erased or rewritten.

Don't cash or accept checks for large amounts. Don't hesitate to call the bank on which the check is written. They should cooperate in checking the account. Do not accept checks on out-of-town banks.

Do not accept third party checks or checks that are dated later than the date presented to you. Never agree to hold the check for any length of time before depositing it into your bank account. Be sure to deposit the check into your account within thirty days.

Be particularly careful in cashing or accepting checks on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays when you cannot call the bank on which the check is drawn. Don't make cash refunds before a check clears.

If you are an employer, assign responsibility for approval of checks to only one or two trusted employees.

IF YOU HAVE A CHECK RETURNED TO YOU MARKED "INSUFFICIENT FUNDS" OR "ACCOUNT CLOSED" FOLLOW THIS PROCEDURE:

If, upon contacting the check writer, he or she refuses to reimburse you for the check...return the check to your bank and request that they obtain a "Certificate of Protest" for you. Then, bring the check, protest and other documentation of the transaction to the District Attorney's Complaint Unit, located at 272 Old Country Road in Mineola, New York. My staff will assist you in filing a complaint, and if applicable, will initiate a prosecution. Should the evidence support a prosecution, a charge of Issuing a Bad Check will be filed, and if applicable, an additional count of larceny. Should you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact my Complaint Unit at 571-3505.