Criminal Investigations Unit
Guide to Dealing With A Bad Check
Take The Following Steps To Confirm The Identity of the Check Writer
If you decide to accept a check for payment you should do the following:
1. Write the person's driver's license number on the front of the check.
2. Match the photo on the driver's licence with the person standing in front of you. If they don't have a license, as for some other type of photo I.D.
3. Ask for a major credit card and write the type of card and the expiration of the card on the front of the check.
4. Write the persons phone number on the check if it is not already written there.
4. Once you accept the check for payment, you must deposit the check within 30 days of the date the check was written.
If you do not obtain identification from the check writer, the case is non-prosecutable.
Please note that the police cannot help you with a STOP PAYMENT bad check. If this is the case it is a civil matter and must be pursued in small claims court. Likewise, if you hold a check for 30 days and do not deposit it and it is returned as a bad check, the case is not prosecutable.
What To Do When You've Received A Bad Check
Once you receive notice from a bank that a check you accepted is "bad" (usually the check will be returned stamped NSF, ACCOUNT CLOSED or REFER TO MAKER), begin keeping a log of what you do and when you do it. You should make three attempts to collect the check yourself before contacting the police department. You may periodically call the issuing bank in the case of a NSF check and ascertain if the account has sufficient money in it for payment. If you find this is the case, go directly to the bank and re-deposit the check. Once you make three attempts to collect on your bad check and still do not receive payment, you may decide that you wish to have the police department involved in the matter.
In any bad check case you are the complainant. Once you decide to get the police involved you need to do the following for the successful prosecution of the bad check.
1. First, go to the issuing bank (where the check was drawn on) and tell them you wish to protest the check. The Certificate of Protest form proves that on the date the check was drawn, the account was CLOSED or NSF. The police department cannot take any action without the Certificate Of Protest.
2. Once you have the Certificate of Protest come to the police department for a report. Bring with you the original check, the Certificate of Protest, and the log of what you have done to attempt to get payment on your own. Your case will be turned over to the Criminal Investigation Unit who will contact you.
New York State law allows the check writer 10 days to make good on the bad check before the case can be prosecuted criminally. If you receive payment with in those 10 days, contact the Investigator handling your case and advise them payment has been made. It is important to remember that if you choose to accept only partial payment and the person fails to pay the remaining balance, the case becomes a civil matter and cannot be prosecuted in criminal court.