The citizens of Lonoke County lose thousands of dollars each year due to hot checks, and in turn we all pay through higher prices. Alert and knowledgeable citizens are the first defense against all crimes – particularly hot checks.
It is important that you or your company establish a set policy for all employees to follow when accepting all checks. It is vital that you stress to your employees the importance of this policy. If your company has a set policy for all customers then no one customer should have any reason to feel that they are being treated unfairly. It is a good idea to have a checklist for all cashiers so that they may follow it. It should include the following:
Is the check dated today?
Checks must be dated the same day they are given. Postdated checks cannot be prosecuted under Hot Check Statutes.
Did you record the I.D. that is being used?
Record on the check the type of I.D., I.D. numbers and date of birth, as well as the name of the clerk taking the check. This information should be printed on the front of the check and it should be legible. Do not allow the check writer to record his or her I.D. information.
Do written amounts and numbers correspond?
Banks will not honor checks with discrepancies.
Can you confirm the identity of the check writer?
Every kind of I.D. can be forged. The most reliable I.D.‘s are those that show a physical description with photos. If you are suspicious ask the check writer to hand you the license and while it is in your hand, ask his or her address or birth date. If it is not his/her license, he/she may be caught off guard and give the wrong information.
Is the address on the check complete?
Require a permanent street address – not a P.O. Box number. This facilitates collection and prosecution of the check if that becomes necessary.
Is the signature legible?
Do not accept checks previously signed. Make sure all checks are signed in your presence. In the case of company checks, it is vital the signature is legible. If not, ask the individual what his/her name is and note that on the check. Ideally, all signatures should be compared with the signature on a valid Arkansas driver’s license.
Check writer location – Is the check on an out-of-state bank?
If so, this too, may have an effect on any collections and prosecution efforts.