Bad Check Information

The Southfield Police Department is a participant in the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Bad Check Restitution Program.  This program allows for certain non-sufficient funds (NSF) checks and account-closed checks to be processed with the goal of full restitution and a mandatory eight-hour intervention class for the offender.  The program has had a high degree of success.  If unsuccessful, the victim will be referred to the Police Department to file a formal complaint.  Once a police report is taken, it will be assigned to a detective for investigation.  This web page is intended to educate readers and provide victims with recovery options.

BAD CHECK RESTITUTION PACKETS:  Bad Check Restitution Packets are available, free of charge, 24-hours a day, at the Southfield Police Department, 26000 Evergreen, Southfield, MI 48037.

How to avoid being a victim:

  • Know you are not required by law to accept a check.
  • Create written policies and procedures for accepting checks.
  • Insist on two pieces of identification, one of which should be a driver’s license with a photo.
  • Compare the photo with the check passer.
  • Compare the signature on the check with the signature on the identification.
  • Never take a check dated in advance.
  • If a signature in not legible, request the passer to print his or her name below the signature.
  • Follow established procedures and safeguards when accepting small checks as well as the large ones.
  • Verify the numerical amount agrees with the written amount on the check.
  • The initials of the person accepting the check should be written on the check.
  • Use extra caution if a person’s name and address are not pre-printed on a check or if the sequence of numbers is low.
  • Record a telephone number of the check passer on the check.
  • If a criminal warrant is obtained, do not accept restitution without receiving permission from the prosecutor.
  • The individual accepting the check should witness the check passer fill out and sign the check.
  • Do not accept a pre-completed check from a second party.

Not all bad checks are prosecutable in criminal court and may be civil in nature.

Criminal Cases
The following criteria must be met to successfully prosecute a criminal case.

  • The check must be issued for present consideration, meaning you must give them something because you are relying on the check to be good.
  • The bank must process the check.  Once you have accepted the check, do not call the bank to determine if it is good before you deposit it.  It must be deposited and returned NSF, Account Closed, No Account, Stolen or Counterfeit.
  • Identification must be recorded by the person accepting the check.  You must have two pieces of identification.  One piece should be a photo driver’s license or state identification card. (Record the number on the check.)  The other can be a credit card in the check passer’s name.  You are not required to record the credit card numbers on the check.  However, you should note the type of credit card reviewed.
  • The person who accepts the check must be known and available to testify.

If you are a victim of an NSF or Account Closed check:

  • Pick up a Bad Check Packet from the police station and follow directions.
  • Send the 5-day notice (pdf) via certified mail.
  • If no response and the check is under $1,000, submit the claim to the Prosecutor’s Bad Check Restitution Program.
  • Prosecutor's Bad Check Form (pdf)

If you are a victim of a counterfeit or stolen check:

  • If you learn that it is counterfeit or stolen before you deposit it in the bank, it is not necessary to deposit the check.
  • Protect the check for fingerprint evidence by handling it by the edges and placing it into an envelope.
  • Make a police report.

Once a police report is made:

  • You will be given a complaint number.
  • The case will be assigned as soon as possible to a detective.
  • Do not accept partial restitution.  No further criminal investigation can legally be initiated if you do.  You will have to proceed in civil court.
  • The detective will contact you and discuss the case to determine your intentions.
  • If you receive full restitution, contact the detective immediately.

Civil Case Options

  • Formal lawsuit - Retain an attorney.
  • Small Claims Court
    • Small claims court is an informal action that is limited to the recovery of up to $3,000.  You may appear without an attorney.
    • Most claims in this area are handled by the 46th District Court, which is located at 26000 Evergreen, Southfield, MI 48037, phone number is (248) 796-5870.

Examples of checks that require civil court remedies:

  • Checks that are issued to repay a loan.
  • Rent checks (except for the first check on which the landlord relied for the person to move in).
  • Payment of services rendered or goods that were delivered and then billed for.
  • Payroll checks that are NSF.
  • Checks received in the mail.
  • Post dated checks.

Status of Investigations
Due to the confidential and sensitive nature of criminal investigations, information and the status of open investigations will not be provided over the internet.  If you are the victim of a crime and request updated information regarding the status of your case, please contact the Detective Bureau.  You may telephone the Detective Bureau during normal business hours at (248) 796-5561, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM