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  Hot Check Merchant Procedures

Hot Check Merchant Procedures


If you have received a check refused for insufficient funds (NSF), the Kerr Country Attorney’s office is here to prosecute this crime and recover the money owed you free of charge to you.  There is no charge to you for this service because all costs are paid by the check writer.  This office prosecutes all NSF checks of amounts less than $2,500.00 issued to both businesses and individuals.


Below are several items for your convenience that will better serve you in your efforts to recover restitution from bad checks:


  • Business Signage  the enclosed “Warning! Passing a bad check is a CRIME!” sign can be placed by the register, front door, or window to visibly let patrons know that bad checks will be turned in for collection to the Kerr County Attorney’s Office.  Please post this in a visible location.
  • Demand Letter if you receive a NSF check, the law requires you send notice to the issuer via U.S. First Class mail before you refer to this office for prosecution.  This is a form letter that you may use for this purpose.
  • Worthless Check Affidavit/Complaint Form please return this form completed to the Kerr County Attorney’s office along with a copy of the returned check and your Demand Letter.  Our office will notarize this for no cost to you.


In order to refer a NSF check to this office for prosecution and collection, please follow these steps:

  1. Present (i.e. deposit) the check to the bank for payment, and receive back the NSF check stamped by bank with the reason for nonpayment.
  2. Send the check issuer a Demand Letter.
  3. Deliver to the Country Attorney’s Hot Check Collection Department: (1) bank copy of check; (2) affidavit; and (3) copy of Demand Letter.


Once you have done these easy steps, the County Attorney’s office will begin prosecution and collection.  As restitution owed to you is collected, you will receive periodic reimbursement.  The Hot Check Collection Department is here to assist you with this process.  Please feel free to call 830-792-2221 any questions.


Procedure when Taking a Check:

It is vital that you stress to your employees the importance of being thorough when accepting a check. If your establishment has set a policy for all customers then no one should have any reason to feel they are being treated unfairly. It is a good idea to have a "checklist" where a cashier can see it easily. It should include at least the following:

1.       Is it dated today? Checks must be dated the same day they're given. Post-dated checks are not prosecutable.

2.       Is the signature legible? Do NOT accept checks previously signed. Have them sign in your presence and compare with driver's license or other I.D.

3.       Is the address complete? Require a permanent street address, not a P O Box number unless you know the writer.

4.       Can you confirm identity? Every kind of I.D. can be forged. The most reliable are the ones with physical descriptions, photos, etc. If you are suspicious, ask the writer to hand you the license and while it's in your hand, ask his address and/or birth date. If it is not his license, he may be caught off guard and give the wrong information.

5.       Do written amounts and numbers correspond? Banks will not honor checks with discrepancies.

6.       Is the I.D. used recorded? Record on the check the type of I.D. and I.D. numbers as well as the clerk's initials who takes the check.

Checks to Avoid:

The following checks usually will not be prosecuted as "hot" checks:

·         A post-dated check;

·         A check on an out-of-state bank;

·         A two-party check;

·         A check more than six (6) months old;

·         A check given in exchange for a returned check;

·         A check which does not identify who accepted it;

·         A check not passed within this county;

·         A check not presented to bank within 30 days of issuance; and

·         A check for which no 10-day notice was given. It is very important to get the information listed above.

Unacceptable Checks:

·         The check was not received (handed or mailed to you) in Kerr County.

o       We suggest you contact the County Attorney’s Office of the county where you received the check.

·         The check writer is not identifiable.

o       The County Attorney will attempt to identify the check writer through bank records. However, the best way to identify the check writer is to verify identification through a Texas driver’s license.

·         The check amount is greater than $2,500.

o       We suggest you contact the District Attorney’s Office at (830) 896-4744.

·         The check was given for credit debt.

o       We suggest you contact the Justice of the Peace in your precinct to file a small claim.

·         The check was held or post-dated, thereby implying a credit transaction.

o        We suggest you contact the Justice of the Peace in your precinct to file a small claim.

·         The check is older than 2 years.

o       The statute of limitations for misdemeanor crime is two years, and therefore the law will not allow us to prosecute offenses older than two years.

·         The merchandise or property was recovered.

o       Because the criminal offense is “theft”, no offense occurred if the property was timely recovered. We suggest you contact the Justice of the Peace in your precinct to file a small claim if you suffered a related loss.

Clues for Detecting Bad Checks:

·         Be careful of low series numbers on personal checks. About 85% of all uncollected "hot checks" are new account numbers between 101 and 150.

·         Check the finish of the black magnetic computer numbers on the bottom. Magnetic ink is very dull -- never shiny.

·         Look for at least one perforated edge. All checks except government or computer produced will be perforated.

·         Beware of photocopied checks. The best sign of a photocopied check is shiny, tacky, uneven letters.

·         Also beware of photocopied "color" on multi-color checks from large corporations.  

Procedure when a Check is Returned:

·         There are certain procedures you must follow before this office will accept a returned check for prosecution:

·         The check must be presented to the bank for payment, even if you know it will not be honored, and stamped by the bank as to the reason for dishonorment.

·         You must send 10 day demand letter to the check writer informing him or her of the reason the check was not honored.

·         Sample letter for stop payment check. Sample letter for lack of funds, insufficient funds, or closed check.

·         Be sure to keep a copy of this letter.

·         If, after 10 days the check has not been paid, you or your representative may bring it to this office and fill out a WORTHLESS CHECK AFFIDAVIT/COMPLAINT FORM   (adobe pdf format)  and furnish the following:

1.       The original check with the bank flag or notation showing the reason it was not honored;

2.       A copy of your letter;

3.       Include specific identification of maker such as

§         driver's license number,

§         date of birth, and

§         physical description if possible.

(It will be necessary for you to supply this information on a form when you come in to the office.)

Procedure when the Check is Turned Over to the Prosecutors Office:

When you bring in a check, it will be logged and a search made to see if the maker has any other hot check offense pending. If there is, yours will be combined with the one(s) previously filed to expedite your restitution.

If not, this office attempts to notify check writers that a case is about to be filed against them.  If they do not make restitution and pay the prosecutor's processing fee, prosecution procedures will be started

Distribution of Restitution:

In many cases, restitution is paid in full and quickly reimbursed to the payee. However, there are some cases which may require a payment plan that carries the penalty of jail time if the terms are not strictly followed.





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