I received a check for 9 cents from a major bank for an overpayment (as a result of setting up automatic electronic payments and not wanting to send an extra one time payment of 9 cents at the end). I don't really care about the check and would rather just toss it in the trash. However, I wonder if I am legally obligated to write "void" on it and/or destroy/shred it since it has a routing and account number on it. Most online resources say I should void it or destroy it but don't say if you could get into legal trouble if you don't. Could I face any trouble in the future if I don't destroy the check and someone finds it?

I did read an article about someone who deposited a check for a large amount and later found that the amount was debited from her account when someone found the check and deposited it. However in my case, I didn't deposit anything and it's only 9 cents. Also my question is mainly about me being in legal trouble, not adverse effects to my bank account.

I'm asking about the law in the United States.

  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is explicitly a legal question. Even if legal questions were on-topic here, we'd need to know the jurisdiction. Oct 12, 2019 at 10:57
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    @ChrisInEdmonton I saw the law tag and assumed that legal questions related to financial matters are ok. What's the point of the law tag if those type of questions are off topic? Oct 12, 2019 at 15:40
  • Not explicitly related to your question, but I write DEPOSITED on a check after depositing a check with my mobile phone so that a double deposit can't accidentally happen.
    – RonJohn
    Oct 12, 2019 at 16:01
  • Also, that regions.com article doesn't say anything about "a check for a large amount and later found that the amount was debited from her account when someone found the check and deposited it."
    – RonJohn
    Oct 12, 2019 at 16:03
  • @RonJohn Thanks for letting me know. I copied the wrong url. I'll try to find the article I was reading later. Oct 12, 2019 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


The risk is that the routing and account information of the person who sent you the check will be exposed if the check falls into the wrong hands. They can use that information to make a fake check. You writing void on the check does nothing to stop that from happening. Destroying the check in a manner that obliterates those numbers will keep others from getting that information.

With mobile deposits the big risk is that you deposit the same check twice we even have questions on this site about it. Cashed a check twice.

If you don't plan on depositing the check, then just destroy it in your preferred manner.

There is one other thing to think about. They might send the check again. Many checks from business have an expiration date, and it can be debated if those dates are real, at some time later they might send the check again to make their books balance.

In this answer I assume the business had a legitimate reason for sending the check, and that it wasn't a scam, or some sort of trick to obligate you for a new service. In those other situations just throw the check in the trash and don't worry about it.

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    Routing numbers are public information.
    – chepner
    Oct 12, 2019 at 14:26
  • This give good, general advice, but doesn't address the question of legal obligation in the title (which also means it should probably be on Law.se and not here).
    – TripeHound
    Oct 14, 2019 at 11:03

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