A certified check generally affords more security in payment because the issuing bank guarantees its payment. A certified check carries both the bank's and the customer's signature as an added guarantee of validity. But even with these safeguards, forgery could still be an issue. To ensure that the check you accept is genuine, trace a certified bank check before accepting it.
Compare the signature on the check with the driver's license or identification of the payee. The signatures should match exactly.
Examine the check to find the contact information for the issuing bank. After finding this information, verify the bank's information by looking it up for yourself in a telephone book or on an online business directory. The reason to verify the bank's contact information is to ensure that the check contains information about a legitimate bank and that the contact information is correct.
Call the bank using the contact information you found with the check in your hand to enable you to verify the check. Ask to speak with a bank representative about the certified check. Provide the identifying information about the check such as the check number, the customer name on the check, the amount of the check and the date of the check. This information should enable the representative to trace it. Verify that the account holder's account has sufficient funds to cover the check.
Take the check to the issuing bank to cash it with the payee, if possible. The bank should be able to verify its authenticity upon presentation of the check.
- A cashier's check is a more secure form of payment than a certified check. If possible, request a cashier's check instead.
- Read all small print on the check to learn about any liability limitations. If you feel uncomfortable cashing the check, refuse it and request cash instead.
- Never proceed with cashing a certified check unless you can trace and verify its authenticity.
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