Robbery Without A Gun
September 30, 2011 7:19 PM   Subscribe

What happens to someone trying to cash a fraudulent check?

Today at work we received 2 calls from our bank asking us to verify checks being cashed. My coworker got one call and an hour or so later I got the other. These were (as far as we know) two separate people since there were different names on the checks but it could be the same person attempting this twice. (seems like a huge coincidence that two different people try this on the same day)

The person on the phone gave me the details and while I was pulling up the right program for verification, she asked me to hold while she talked to the teller so I think the person with the check was in the bank at the time.

After I verified it was indeed a fraudulent check, the bank person thanked me and hung up. Now check is obviously not going to be cashed but what happened next? Would the bank keep that check? Do they call the police? The last time this happened, the person got the money and there were police involved but the bank never removed the money from our account, we had no involvement.
posted by jaimystery to Work & Money (7 answers total)
 
Best answer: They will notify the police, but whether or not they detain the person depends on the bank's policy and decisions made by staff at the time. They may inform the person the check is fraudulent if the customer is known or has a reputation or is otherwise presumed to have been tricked. The police may or may not want to arrest the person. The bank may be required to file a Suspicious Activity Report (depends on the amount) but they will probably file one regardless of whether it's required.
posted by michaelh at 7:24 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I have helped bail friends out of jail for knowingly cashing bad checks. they were arrested on the spot, released on bail, and then put on probation a few months later.
posted by nadawi at 7:43 PM on September 30, 2011


Best answer: This isn't a direct answer to your question, but I wanted to suggest that you or an appropriate manager at your company go in and talk to an officer at the bank to get more details on the situation and to figure out what happened here. This incident could well reveal a security concern that your company needs to be aware of (e.g. a current or former employee has a bunch of stolen checks) or another concern with your financial controls.

If this is already being taken care of, never-mind.
posted by zachlipton at 8:14 PM on September 30, 2011


Best answer: As an attorney, I've represented a lot of people accused of trying to cash fraudulent or forged checks. Generally it seems that the check cashing place tries to delay the individual under the pretense of "our system is down," "we're waiting for the manager to come sign off on this," or some other innocuous excuse, so that the person will be there when the police arrive and arrest him or her.
posted by jayder at 11:14 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: thanks to all - zachlipton, we have positive pay (we upload info on all checks being cut to the bank) and these checks weren't in the data so they already knew the checks were bad.

The thing that struck me was that the caller from the bank told me she was calling on a recorded line and she asked me to say "yes, this check is fraudulent" after I verified the check wasn't legit. Made me wonder why that was important to say 'for the record'.

Funny - we met with our bank reps this week and part of the discussion was about check fraud. Positive pay has been well, a pretty positive experience for us so far.
posted by jaimystery at 5:57 AM on October 1, 2011


Best answer: Check fraud--usually categorized as "forgery"--is a felony in most states, and usually not the most minor one either. In Indiana, it carries penalty of two to eight years in prison, with an advisory sentence of four years.

So what happens to someone trying to cash a fraudulent check? As often as not, they go to jail.
posted by valkyryn at 7:46 AM on October 1, 2011


Best answer: I used to be a retail bank supervisor. We will keep the check as evidence and call the police. We would, at times, try to delay the person as long as possible; but it was not within our rights or power to detain someone. It would also to be dangerous to detain someone; I would have disciplined or fired an employee of mine for endangering clients and staff by pretending to be a cop.
posted by spaltavian at 10:38 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


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