There are several ways to verify the authenticity of a cashier's check. Which one you choose will depend on the distance to the bank on which it is drawn, the amount of the check and whether or not you are suspicious of the circumstances under which you received it.|
- Take the check to the bank that issued it. Be prepared with personal identification. You can either simply verify that it is legitimate, or cash it, depending on your needs and the size of the check.
- Look up the telephone number of the issuing bank, don't rely on a phone number printed on the check, and call to inquire about it. Be aware, however, that many banks don't verify their official checks by telephone. If the bank simply says it won't verify by phone, don't take that as a sign the check is no good. Try another approach.
- Take the check to your bank and ask to have it sent for collection to the issuing bank. There are normally costs for this service, and it may not be a good choice for a small check. If the check is good, your bank can request that the proceeds be transferred by wire to your account, or the issuing bank can substitute a new official check, payable to your bank, and it can be deposited to your account with the assurance that it is good. The issuing bank may also deduct a service fee for handling the collection on its end.
- Least attractive as an option is simply depositing it to your account and waiting. This option is not recommended in most cases unless you have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the check. Even if your bank allows you to withdraw funds from the deposit, you will be responsible if the check turns out to be fraudulent and it is returned to your bank. Allow plenty of time before you use any of the funds. Two weeks ought to be enough for checks issued by U.S. banks.
Cashier's checks were at one time believed to be as good as cash. Unfortunately, there are so many counterfeit cashier's checks out there now that one has to be skeptical unless one knows the party that provided it, and that the transaction for which the check was issued is legitimate. To see a collection of articles and Q&As dealing with fraudulent check scams, check out our Scams/Fraud.
Published on BankingQuestions.com 4/06/09