Check Enforcement Program

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 merchants and others go unpaid.

 If you or your business is the victim of a bad check, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office may be able to help you get the money you are owed.

Our Check Enforcement Program has a mission to pursue bad check writers and make them pay up - even if it means taking them to court. The program is largely funded by fees paid by bad check writers, making this a completely FREE service to victims and merchants.

BEFORE You Receive a Bad Check
Be sure to follow our C.H.E.C.K. list before accepting any check:

Card every “check writer” - Write down the photo ID number (preferably an Arizona Driver License) and date of birth of the signer. Remember, a social security card is not legitimate identification.

Handle the check - Feel the edges of the check. Can you feel a perforated side? How does the paper feel? Was it washed, erased, chemically wiped, taped together or altered with white correction tape?

Examine the preprinted information - Is there a printed address and name? Does the banking institution currently exist? For Arizona banks, do the numbers at the bottom (routing numbers) start with "12" for banks or "32" for credit unions? Is the check number at the top showing up on the bottom row of numbers? Routing numbers at bottom of check should not be in shiny ink, but should reflect flat or dull.

Confirm the handwritten data - Make sure the date is accurate, and the dollar amounts match. Be sure the signature matches the account name and that it is legible. Print the signer's name above the signature if you cannot read it.

Keep your procedure consistent - Even if you think you know the check writer, insist on seeing ID and write the information on the check (AZ Driver License, date of birth).

If You Receive a Bad Check
Send a Demand for Payment letter to the bad check writerForm A  if the amount is less than $5,000 and Form B  if the amount is $5,000 or more. If you do not receive payment within the specified time frame, fill out a Victim Information Form (PDF) (first time victims only), attach the bad check to a completed Submittal/Witness Form (PDF), and mail or deliver these materials to our office:

MCAO Check Enforcement Program
225 West Madison Street 
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: 602-372-7300
Fax: 602-506-4329

If there is sufficient evidence to prove that a crime was committed, we will take action against the bad check writer which could result in a criminal court summons and/or a warrant for arrest. Penalties for issuing a bad check include up to 6 months in jail and a $2,500 fine, plus full restitution.

For more information, download our Check Enforcement Guidebook (PDF) or check out our list of frequently asked questions. You can also contact us directly at 602-372-7300 or via email.

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Downloads for Merchants, Business Owners, Victims