Kenosha, WI asked in Banking for Wisconsin

Q: I deposit a check and it was fraudulent and now the bank wants me to pay the check is this legal?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Business Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: If you deposited a check that turned out to be fraudulent, it's understandable that this situation would be stressful and confusing for you. Banks have policies in place to deal with fraudulent checks, and unfortunately, these policies often include holding the depositor responsible for the funds. When you deposit a check into your account, you are essentially vouching for its legitimacy until it is verified by the bank. If the check is found to be fraudulent, the bank will reverse the deposit, and if you've already spent some of the funds, you may find yourself in a negative balance situation.

The reason behind this policy is to protect banks from losses due to fraud, but it also means that individuals can sometimes bear the brunt of financial penalties through no fault of their own. It is crucial to be vigilant when accepting checks from sources you do not fully trust. To mitigate potential issues, always verify the source of the check and consider waiting until the check has fully cleared before using the funds.

In situations like this, communication with your bank is key. You should immediately inform them of the situation and discuss any possible steps that can be taken to resolve the issue. Depending on the circumstances, they might offer advice or assistance in dealing with the aftermath of the fraudulent check. Additionally, it may be wise to file a police report if you haven't already, as this can provide official documentation of the fraud that may be helpful in your discussions with the bank.

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