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There are plenty of warnings around about forged cashier's cheques, and that if you deposit a forged one your bank will "hold you responsible".

  1. What does it mean that the bank will "hold you responsible"? Clearly the money won't be credited. Will you be charged a fee like an NSF cheque? Will they try to prosecute you?
  2. Is there any way to confirm whether a cashiers cheque is forged? Could you for example tell your bank that you were uncertain of the origin, and ask them to confirm it? Can you call the issuer and verify (from the serial number) that they did in fact issue a cheque for that amount with you as the payee?
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They will deduct the amount and likely charge you a fee. For exact policies ask your bank. –  Ramhound Jul 16 '12 at 14:42
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

What does it mean that the bank will "hold you responsible"? Clearly the money won't be credited. Will you be charged a fee like an NSF cheque? Will they try to prosecute you?

  • They will pull the money out of your account. Don't spend it even if it appears to clear. It could take days/weeks for the whole cycle to be completed.
  • Yes you could be charged a fee. It is up to your bank/credit union
  • Will they try to prosecute you? There was fraud committed, one or more banks were involved. There will be an investigation. The question was how involved were you in the fraud. So yes you could be prosecuted.

Is there any way to confirm whether a cashiers cheque is forged? Could you for example tell your bank that you were uncertain of the origin, and ask them to confirm it? Can you call the issuer and verify (from the serial number) that they did in fact issue a cheque for that amount with you as the payee?

Even calling the bank might not help. The first verification is that the bank exists, and that the account number and name match and that they did issue a check. But that doesn't cover the situation where the person that sent you the check wasn't who they claimed to be. That is the theft that could take weeks to find.

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The only certain way is to have the issuer confirm it. You'd think there would be a better way, but no there isn't.

I suggest you read this story about what can happen even if you are the innocent victim trying to cash a fraudulent Cashier's Check. The consequences included some jail time and huge attorney fees for this unlucky person.

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How would I go about having the issuer confirm it? Can I call the issuing bank and say "I have a cheque serial number X made out to Y for Z amount = does such a cheque exist?" –  DJClayworth Sep 11 '12 at 15:25
    
Your best bet is to go to the actual bank that issued it. Even then it may be hit/miss. The controls on this process are really primitive. –  JohnFx Sep 12 '12 at 3:08
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