Lost Checks or Credit Cards

If you lose your checkbook and a check is forged in your name, you are generally not liable; it is the responsibility of the bank to know the depositor.

Of course, it is in your own best interest to report the loss immediately to your bank. There are some special circumstances under which you might have trouble. For example, a skilled forger who has a sample of your signature may conceivably withdraw your entire balance. Informing the bank promptly will save you problems and, possibly in some limited circumstances, loss of funds.

Make certain to check the next monthly statement that you receive to discover whether you have been charged for a forged check.

Lost or misplaced bank credit cards or department store charge cards should be reported as soon as the loss is discovered. While the original card holder may be liable for a maximum of $50 (per card) — card issuers buy insurance against a thief’s shopping sprees or purchase of a first class flight to some distant pleasure island — it is nevertheless to your benefit to have those accounts closed and new registration numbers issued to you (and anyone else authorized to charge purchases on those accounts). If there have been charges which you did not make, you will have to go through the burden of having the billing corrected, including having to demonstrate that the purchases were not in fact made by you. To the extent that credit card issuers bear losses due to forged credit card purchases, there may be increased fees associated with procuring credit cards for all customers. And finally, there is a civic responsibility to report crime to appropriate officials.

It is important, therefore, to have an up-to-date list of your credit card numbers in a safe place other than the wallet or purse in which you carry your credit cards.

Holders of several cards may wish to purchase credit card insurance. For a modest fee, the insuring company retains the list of all of your account numbers and immediately notifies all of the issuers once you call to report a loss or theft. These companies also supply warning labels to paste on your credit cards, which, it is hoped, will deter a thief from making criminal use of the accounts.



  • Hi,

    Great article about Lost checks.A criminal check report aggregates public records from many sources created by government agencies. Besides verifying the identify of an individual, a report usually includes: vehicle registration, credit records, criminal records, education records, court records, medical records, military records, state licensing records, and drug test records.

  • In response to the post above, I think it’s important to note that only a comprehensive, complete background checkwill reveal data from the sources listed. A simple “criminal check” will report just criminal records only.