Pulling out your debit card to swipe at the gas station or the grocery store is typically the preferred transaction for customers.
However, there are people who remember the days before credit cards who prefer putting pen to paper and avoiding high-tech digital transactions.
The Dangers of Checks
They usually have a false perception that signing your name on an old-fashioned check is a safer alternative to typing your credit card number online or swiping it at the register. Unfortunately that couldn’t be further from the truth.
A criminal with your check has all the information they need to steal your money at their finger tips: routing number, your address, and your account number.
“We used to have to worry that they would wash that one check and then they would have one perfect check of yours. Now, all they need are those numbers on the bottom, and they can make more checks,” Soulier.
Soulier urged consumers to use other methods of money transactions. If you insist are keeping a checkbook, Soulier advises that you request new checks to be delivered to your bank instead of your house, where criminals could potentially steal them out of your mailbox.
Jail time for bad checks
District Attorney Ashley Rich said in Fiscal year 2014-2015, her office obtained more than a quarter of a million dollars in restitution fees from people who bounced checks to local businesses.
“Writing a bad check is considered ‘negotiating a worthless instrument.’ So, it’s a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail. But, sometimes if they have numerous checks and they’re skirting the law, the judge will put them in jail for the year,” Rich said.
“The public can help us by going online to MobileDA.org and looking up to see if they know anybody who we are looking for,” Rich said.”Help us get the information about where that person’s located, so we can get that warrant executed and get the money back to the merchant.”
Rich said she started a new program to better protect local businesses from becoming victims.
“We want to be proactive in making sure the merchant understands when they accept a check, number one. And number two, if they accept a check and it is a bad check then they have all the information they need to report it to our office, so we can collect that bad check for them,” Rich said.
The program is free and all you have to do is contact the DA’s office.
Rich said they also have more than $200,000 in unaccounted restitution fees and she’s hoping business who have fallen victim will log on to the website and see if their name is listed as a victim.