Accepting a Check from a Customer
Prevention is the first protection against a hot check. You and your employees must be thorough with every check you accept. Set a consistent policy on the handling of all checks so that your customers will not have any reason to feel they are being treated unfairly - and so that any hot checks will be prosecutable. Have the following checklist available for your personnel, and adopt these hints as part of your check policy:
- IS IT DATED TODAY?
Checks must be dated the same day they're given. Post-dated checks are not "hot checks" under the law and cannot be prosecuted unless means of criminal intent can be proven.
- IS THE SIGNATURE LEGIBLE?
Do NOT accept checks previously signed. Have them signed in your presence and compare with a driver's license or other signature ID.
- IS THE ADDRESS COMPLETE?
Require a permanent street address, not a P.O. Box number unless you know the check writer.
- CAN YOU CONFIRM IDENTITY?
Every kind of ID, including driver's licenses, can be forged. Rely on ID with photographs and physical descriptions. If the ID is suspicious, ask the person to hand it to you and then ask his address and/or birth date. If not his license, the person may be caught off guard and give the wrong information. A SSAN is not an acceptable ID. No information about a person can be obtained from this form of ID.
- RECORD INFORMATION ON THE CHECK:
At a minimum, the following must be written on the check by the person accepting the check:
- The number and issuing state of the driver's license or state identification.
- A Complete Address.