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Hot Check Division

Phone Number: (870) 541-5371

Dear Merchant:

You could be and probably have been the victim of one of today’s most costly crimes—Hot Checks. The Prosecuting Attorney’s office will do everything possible to reduce the number of Hot Checks in Jefferson County and the losses caused by them.

DO YOUR PART! It is vital that your employees are trained in the proper policy for accepting checks and that you, the merchant, enforce these policies. At a minimum,

  • All checks must be dated the day they are given in exchange for goods or services
  • Signature on check must be legible and signed in your presence
  • Require a physical street address
  • Record the following information for every check
    • Driver's license number (even if printed on the check, it should be circled or written out again to prove comparison with provided ID)
    • Date of birth
    • Initials of person accepting check
  • Make sure the written amount and numerical amount correspond
  • Tips to reduce losses from Hot Checks:
    • For business checks, you may want to print the signer’s name and write ID info on the face of the check
    • Do not accept pre-signed checks
    • Check for expired driver’s licenses
    • Beware of temporary, starter, or low numbered checks
    • Show caution with out-of-state or out-of-town checks. To follow through on these checks, we sometimes must depend on persons in the other county to do our work for us
    • Watch for fraudulently printed checks—most checks have at least one perforated edge, ink should be dull, not raised or smeared

If you do have a bank returned check, it is not necessary for the merchant to contact the check writer unless they desire to do so. If you do not receive payment in a timely manner, bring us the check and we will help you complete a Hot Check Affidavit and collect for your check. We will need:

  • The original check (or the original documents that the bank sent you) with the bank notation showing the reason it was not honored
  • Valid identification information on check writer
  • Name of person accepting check
  • Merchant (or their representative) to sign affidavit affirming conditions of check acceptance

Please do not accept payment or negotiate with the check writer after you have submitted a check to our office. The Prosecutor will send a courtesy letter to the check writer requesting prompt payment of the non-honored check. If payment is not made in the time provided, criminal prosecution procedures will begin. Any restitution collected by the Prosecutor’s Office will be forwarded to the appropriate merchant.

The following checks usually will not be accepted for hot check prosecution by our office:

  • Post-dated or "hold" checks
  • Checks for under $1000 that are more than 10 months old
  • Any check that is over two years old
  • Two- or three-party checks (includes payroll checks)
  • Checks where signer cannot be positively identified
  • Checks presented outside of Jefferson County for products purchased or services performed outside of Jefferson County
  • Checks that do not have "NSF" or "Account Closed" stamped on them by the bank
  • Checks not presented to bank within 30 days of receipt
  • Checks to pay a pre-existing debt
  • Stop-payment checks
  • Checks that have been altered, forged or stolen---Please report these to law enforcement
  • Any check given in exchange or as a substitute for a returned check

Dear Check Writer:

If you receive a courtesy notice from the Prosecuting Attorney stating we are attempting to collect for a check you have written, DON’T PANIC! We understand that mistakes happen, and want to give you the opportunity to quickly resolve the issue. Usually, the payment amount required is the face amount of the check, plus a service charge for the merchant and a collection fee for the Hot Check Office. Avoid additional fines and court costs (can be several hundred dollars) by immediately responding to our letter.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact our Hot Check Staff. They will be glad to help you in any way they can!