What is a worthless check?

Under Florida law, any check returned from a bank stamped with any of the following is a worthless check:

  • Account Closed
  • Account Not Found 
  • Closed Account 
  • Insufficient Funds 
  • No Such Account 
  • Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) 
  • NSF Unless Otherwise Indicated


Issuers of worthless checks may be subject to prosecution under Florida's criminal statutes. Checks returned "Refer to Maker" or "Uncollected Funds" may require additional investigation before being charged criminally. 

Checks stamped "Stop Payment" may, in certain circumstances, be the subject of criminal charges, but you should be aware that stop-payment orders are not generally criminal and may have to be resolved in a Small Claims Court civil suit. 


Checks returned with the stamp "Unauthorized Drawer's Signature" are generally not suitable for prosecution as worthless checks because they are probably forgeries committed by someone other than the owner of the checking account. Forgery does not fall under the Worthless Check Recovery Program and must be filed with the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the check was uttered or forged.  

Show All Answers

1. What is a worthless check?
2. What information should be taken on the check?
3. What should I do when I receive a worthless check?
4. What is the advantage in sending a registered or certified letter (recommended but not required)?
5. What are the penalties for passing a worthless check?
6. What happens if a case of a worthless check cannot be prosecuted?