Worthless Check Recovery
This office handles worthless checks received in the jurisdiction of the 16th Judicial Circuit only, which is Monroe County, Florida. Do not contact us if this is not the correct jurisdiction; other jurisdictions’ procedures may be different.
The Office of the State Attorney (16th Judicial Circuit) prosecutes worthless-check cases and offers a recovery program for worthless-check offenders that can avoid resolution through the court system. The advantage of this program for merchants is that it increases the speed and rate of recovery.
Accepting a Check
You are never under any obligation to accept a check from someone for payment of goods or services. While checks are certainly a convenience, you may opt to ask for cash or certified checks or money orders.
In order for the State Attorney's Office to prosecute for insufficient funds or account-closed checks, it is necessary that the identification of the person issuing the check be made by the taker of the check. Therefore, if you decide to accept checks, please follow these guidelines:
- Be sure you can positively identify the person giving you or your employee the check. You should ask for some type of picture identification, either a driver’s license or ID card issued by a governmental agency. Be wary of ID cards that can be obtained through the mail or at flea markets. Examine the ID carefully to make sure that it has not been altered in any way and to make sure that the person presenting the check is the person on the ID card.
- Do not accept checks that are post-dated (a check bearing a date in the future, i.e., a check written on January 1, 2019, should not be dated January 2, 2019) or checks with no date on them at all unless you are willing to take a chance, since post-dated checks cannot be prosecuted by the State Attorney's Office if they are dishonored.
- Do not accept third-party checks, since the person who wrote the check is not the person giving it to you and you may be accepting a forged or stolen check.
- Do not agree to hold a check for any length of time. If you do, you are acknowledging that you knew the check was bad when you took it. Such checks cannot be prosecuted by the State Attorney's Office.
- If you personally know the check writer and can identify that person, you need only put the driver’s license number, state of issue and date of birth on the face of the check and compare signatures. However, if you do not know the check writer personally and cannot identify the check writer at a later date, you should do the following:
- Compare the picture and signature on the driver’s license to that of the check writer, making sure that the person uttering the check is the person on the driver license. If the check-writer does not have a driver’s license, then you should ask for another type of picture identification or military identification.
- Record the driver’s license or picture identification number and the state from which it was issued on the face of the check.
- Initial the check to indicate that you received it.
- Obtain information and save it should there be a problem in the future:
- Business Phone
- Date of Birth
- Driver’s License Number
- Full Name
- Home Phone Number
- Place of Employment
- Residence Address
- You may ask to see a credit card as an indication of credit worthiness on the part of the check writer, but you may not write down the credit card number or expiration date, only the type of card and the check writer's name. This does not prohibit you from requesting a credit card number and expiration date in lieu of a deposit to secure payment in the event of default, loss, damage or similar occurrence.
- What is a worthless check?
- What information should be taken on the check?
- What should I do when I receive a worthless check?
- What is the advantage in sending a registered or certified letter (recommended but not required)?
- What are the penalties for passing a worthless check?
- What happens if a case of a worthless check cannot be prosecuted?