There are risks involved with accepting checks from strangers for goods or services rendered. The biggest risk is that the account may have insufficient funds to cover the check. Your bank will charge you a return check fee and you may have no way of collecting from the crook. Many perceptive crooks prey on trusting victims. However, there are ways to discover if a bank account is active and has funds available before you accept that check.
Call the financial institution to verify the funds before accepting the check as payment for services. Normally, the phone number for the bank is located on the check. If it is not, call information (411) or search for the bank on the Internet. If possible, contact the banking institution in front of the client. This is important because some banking institutions need to speak with the customer to confirm that they authorized the release of the information.
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Tell the banking institution representative that you need to verify funds. The representative will ask for the name on the account, the account number and possibly the check number. The first nine digits are the routing number. The next ten to fifteen consecutive digits are the account number. The last three digits are the check number.
Add at least twenty dollars to the amount of the check and ask the representative to verify if that amount is available at this time. Also ask if the account is active. If the account is not active, this could mean either the account is closed or the account is dormant. A dormant account means the account holder has stopped using the account, which means that someone else may be using the account without permission.
Confirm the account has no holds. An account with holds means that any withdrawal attempts are on a blocked status indefinitely and you may be unable to receive payment.
Avoid depositing a check into your account without first verifying that the funds are available.
Always verify a check on a weekday because some banks do not update records over the weekend.
Things You'll Need
Checking account number
Name of account holder
Financial institution phone number