Bad Checks


Each day, thousands of checks are written to pay for goods or services – yet hundreds are not honored when presented at the bank. Hard working business owners and others go unpaid. If you or your business is the victim of a bad check, the Ohio County Attorney’s Office may be able to help you get the money you are owed.


Tips on preventing bad checks:

  • Institute a check acceptance policy.
  • Confirm the identity of the check writer by viewing a picture ID.
  • Legibly write on the check the operator's license information, date of birth or SSN.
  • Whenever possible avoid accepting checks written on a new account.
  • The signature should be legible and signed in the presence of the individual accepting the check.
  • The complete address should be imprinted on the check.
  • Accept checks only written with today’s date.
  • Make sure written amounts and numbers correspond.
  • Avoid accepting checks drawn on an out-of-state bank or third party checks.
REMEMBER, you are not required to accept a check from anyone. If you feel uncomfortable or suspicious, ask for another form of payment.

Types of checks the Ohio County Attorney's Office cannot collect on:

  • Checks over one (1) year old, unless over $500.00
  • Postdated or Held Checks
  • Credit Card Accounts
  • Traveler’s Checks
  • Health Savings Accounts
  • Checks issued, passed or accepted in another county or state
  • Any check for which partial payment has been accepted
  • Checks with illegible, forged, dual or stamped signatures
  • Check was issued as payment on a loan, as part of an agreement to pay or an open account
  • The identity of the check writer is not known
  • There is no amount or signature on the check
  • Frozen or blocked accounts
  • Third Party Checks
  • Rent Checks: UNLESS you give possession of the property in exchange for the check, i.e. keys, first months rent, OR the check was written in response to a threat of eviction

What do I do if I receive a bad check?

The bad check recovery program is free to all merchants and/or individuals who have suffered loss as a result of a bad check.

Once you receive a returned check from its banking institution, you should either bring (at 124 W. Union Street, Hartford, KY) or mail (P.O. Box 146, Hartford, KY  42347) the original check to the County Attorney's office.

Upon receipt of the cold check, the Ohio County Attorney's office will generate a letter to the maker of the check.  The letter will inform the maker that he or she has ten (10) days from the date of the letter to make arrangements to redeem the check. The maker can either redeem the check in cash, money order or by credit card.

In order to redeem the check, the maker must pay the face value of the check along with a service fee to you for $50.00 and a County Attorney service fee. Upon redeeming the check, the County Attorney will forward the payment to you.

Should the maker not redeem the check in a timely fashion or make appropriate arrangements for payments of the same, then in that event a criminal complaint will be filed. At this point the maker is subject to criminal prosecution. A bad check under the sum of $500.00 is a Class A Misdemeanor while a check in excess of $500.00 is a Class D Felony.

During the criminal proceeding, the County Attorney's office will make arrangements for payment of the bad check.