Although a certified check can assist safeguard against fraud and bounced checks, if you accept the payment, keep in mind that scammers can make phony certified checks that appear real. Even if it was an honest error and you thought the check was genuine, it is ultimately your obligation to make the account whole.
A certified check is a secure payment method that is accepted at banks and credit unions. A certified check is a personal check that is guaranteed by the bank of the check writer. The bank checks the account holder's signature and that they have the funds to pay, then holds the check amount until it is cashed or deposited. Certified checks can be returned for any reason within 60 days.
The purpose of a certified check is to provide additional security for your check writing activities. Banks will charge you an additional fee to cash your certified check because it is more time-consuming to process than an ordinary check. However, since there are fewer risks involved with certifying your checks, this extra cost may be worth it for you.
Banks often use certified checks to verify the identity of check writers before they will cash their checks. Since money cannot be withdrawn from an account using a debit card, this step is necessary to ensure that someone does not make a fraudulent purchase with your credit card number. Credit cards don't provide this level of protection because it is easy to fake another person's signature on a credit card receipt.
Banks also use certified checks to reduce the risk of fraud when processing large payments. Because certified checks carry an additional fee, only companies that can afford it will use this method to process large payments.
Finally, banks use the term "certified" to indicate that the check has been scanned into evidence in a criminal case.
Certified checks can be used in place of cash for small purchases and are often convenient because there is no risk of loss due to theft or fraud.
When you write a check, the face of the check shows who wrote it and when it was written. When you deposit a check, the bank looks at the maker's name on the back of the check to make sure it is good before giving you your money. If any problems are found, the bank will tell you before you get your money.
A photocopy of a check is called a "photostatic copy." With today's technology, almost all checks can be copied easily and cheaply. Photocopying machines cost about $100 to $150 and produce hundreds of copies at one time from one original. You will need photo paper, which is regular printer paper with images printed directly onto it; however, photographic paper is recommended for best results.
Photostatic copies are useful for checking signatures or dates of payments, but they cannot replace the original check because they do not have the same legal effect as the original check.
The individual will usually ask you to deposit or cash the check in most bogus check scams. When the bank discovers that the check was fake, you, not the fraudster, will most likely be held liable for repaying the money to the bank. If you deposit a check from someone who knows nothing about you or your account, then you are just like to give yourself away by doing so.
Some people may try to convince you that you should never deposit a check made out to someone else because they might steal your identity. This is not true. Identity theft is when someone uses your information (such as your social security number) to get credit in your name. If you don't want anyone to know you have an account with us, don't tell anyone your account number or password. Anyone who gets their hands on this information can use it to deposit checks into your account.
Also, do not deposit checks that do not come with your name on them. These are called "bogus checks." They may look real but they are not. The person who gives you the check may not even have a checking account themselves. Instead, they may try to sell these checks in order to get more money. Most banks cannot help you if someone tries to pass off a bad check as good and charges you for it.