What is an altered check? (with photos)

An amended check contains information that has changed from the original.

An amended check is one where some detail has been changed after it was originally written, specifically when that change was made without the check writer’s knowledge. The legal consequences if and when this change is discovered depend on the jurisdiction in force. An altered check should not be confused with a bounced check or a crossed check.

A modified check is one in which a detail has been changed after the check was issued, and this can be a reason for a check not being honored by a bank.

The most likely way to change the check is one where the recipient’s name has been changed by a person in possession of the check, which means he or she can collect payment. In some situations the change may be in the value, but it tends not to happen if the recipient and the issuer know each other, as the change will soon become clear. It could be the date that was changed, for example, if the issuer intended the check to be post-dated to avoid potential scams and the recipient amends the check to allow for immediate reimbursement without delivering the relevant good or service.

Regulations regarding changing information on a check are included in the Uniform Commercial Code.

In the United States, altered checks are covered by section 3-407 of the Uniform Commercial Code. This is a set of standard regulations relating to business transactions that have been adopted in the laws of all US states. According to the UCC, the amendment covers changing what was written on a check and adding information where the check was incomplete, for example, if the amount was left blank.

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The rules mean that if someone fraudulently alters a check, the person who would have an obligation under that check is no longer obligated to fulfill that obligation. This means that not only does the issuer not have to pay the money, but neither the issuer nor the recipient’s bank has to act on the check. If, however, the issuing bank in good faith pays money from an altered check, it cannot necessarily be forced to recover or return the money.

Banks can set time limits for the issuer to detect the change and require the transaction to be voided. The maximum time for this bank-imposed limit is 30 days. If the bank does not have a policy, there is also a legal limit of one year for the customer to file a claim.

An altered check is not the same as a returned check. This is better known as a case of insufficient funds and means that the issuer does not have enough money in their account to cover the payment; if the issuer learns of this when writing the check, she may be guilty of a felony. The amended check also differs from a crossed check, which can only be deposited at a specific bank rather than drawn elsewhere.

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