If you use checks and have ever been close to your pay date while needing a little extra cash, you may have tried to use checks to “float” to the next payday. Oftentimes, if you pay with a check, that check isn’t cashed right away. Essentially, you’re using it like a credit card.
Floating a check is actually illegal if you know that you don’t have the money to pay for a certain good or service. It is possible that you could face charges for doing so.
What’s a common kind of check kiting people commit accidentally?
One situation that could lead to check-kiting accusations is retail kiting. Retail kiting happens when someone writes a check for more than they have in their account asking for cash back. For example, if your transaction is for $100 in groceries and you write the check for $200, the cashier will give you $100 back.
If the check is cashed but you don’t have enough money to cover the check, you could be accused of check kiting since you’ve just cost the store and your bank extra money that isn’t recoverable in the account. Of course, smaller amounts are sometimes common to see, as people may not realize that they don’t have enough money in their accounts.
It’s serious to be accused of check kiting
If you’re accused of check kiting, take the accusations seriously. This is a kind of fraud, and the penalties could be high.
If you accidentally overdraft your bank account once or twice, it’s really unlikely that you’ll be accused of check kiting. However, if you regularly float checks and have a history of not paying, you could be accused of check kiting and taken to court.
What do you need to do if you’re accused of check kiting?
If you are accused, it’s important to get to know your legal rights. Sometimes, accidents happen, and you may not have had any intention of wrongdoing. It’s valuable to learn more about the exact charges you’re facing, the penalties that you could face and the defensive options that could work in your case.