Canceling a check without receiver permission - is it legal?

I've received two checks from a roommate that are several hundreds of dollars each.

I took digital photos of them. I have the photos in my email.

I am a quite organized person. So I know the checks should have been in my document folders.

I have found out that my roommate has taken from my folders several personal documents that he was not interested that I would keep having (I have photos of them too, but that's another story). He admitted doing so. However, I also cannot find the checks where I've put them. I suspect he also took the checks, and possibly eliminated them, and officially canceled them (since he now had the originals).

But I do have the scans of the checks. Will I be able to use the scans in order to cash the checks, even if he canceled the checks? Or at least argue that the checks were canceled fraudulently?

If I will not be able to cash the checks, where should I go with that story?

I should mention that, my roommate wrote my name on the checks... so this is my proof that they were given to me.


@George: at least three US banks the I know of - Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase - let customers scan a check, and send the scan to the bank through a mobile phone..... so I don't think you are right when you say I need the original check in order to cash it.

Update 3:

@Doglover: technically he is not obligated to pay me for a service he has done for me. I gave him cash and asked for a check in order to guarantee I would get my cash back at some point (I told him I would give him a reasonable amount of time unless I figure he has no intentions to pay back, which I already figured a couple of months ago).

I do not have the back of the checks, but I think what I have would be enough for a small claims court? I don't think he would want to get there. I don't want to cause him problems either since he is already messed up quite a bit, I just want to get my money back.

Update 4:

@Yeti: Thanks for explaining what I should do to get my money back.

I usually cash my checks immediately.

The reason why did not cash these specific checks immediately this time:

1. I knew the guy had no money, so I wanted to give him 3-4 months to get his head straight.

2. He is a relative of mine so I wanted to solve the issue in peaceful ways.

When I moved out, I found out some of my documents are missing. This certain as I keep soft copies of the hard copies of all my folders, in exactly the same order.

I'm organized, and maybe too generous, but it would not be a good idea to try to steal from me.

3 Answers

  • Yeti
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You can't use just any old scan to cash a check. The mobile banking apps you've seen first require that you've correctly endorsed the back of the check. Then they have you take a picture of the actual check with their application, which also logs the exact time and location you're doing so. You can't do that honestly with a scan. And if the roommate actually canceled the checks, you could walk yourself into a whole lot of trouble. You'd be committing bank fraud, and they're not going to care about you saying "but he owes me money."

    You need to stop focusing on the missing checks. The problem is that your roommate owes you several hundred dollars, which you're apparently claiming you haven't received. If your roommate refuses to provide you new payment/checks, you'd use your scans when you sue him in small claims court for the money you're claiming you're still owed.

    In the future, if you're a very organized person, cash the checks you receive shortly after you receive them. Scanning them and sticking them in folders and all that can be an unnecessary hassle if you'd just deposit them. The bank then keeps scans and records and everything for you, which you can download and save. Your "organization" is now a mess.

  • 8 years ago

    If you do it via mobile you would need a pic of the front AND back of the checks.

    I don't know about the actual bank branches though. Either way you can just say you lost the checks and make him write you new ones. He's still obligated to pay you and since you didn't cash the check you can tell him to put a stop payment on the lost ones (if he wasn't the one who stole them in the first place) and tell him to write new ones. You can actually take him with you to see if the checks have already been stopped or cashed.

    EDIT: Well if you loaned him cashed and asked for a check as a way to make sure you got your money back then he does still owe you money and therefore is still required to pay you back. The fact that you cannot find the checks means that you need to make sure that they haven't been cashed by someone else. You don't want him to turn around and say that because the checks were cashed he doesn't owe you money. If he has proof that the checks were cashed it will be really hard to prove that you were not the one who cashed them. So let it be made public that the checks are missing and you have not cashed them. Still take him to see if they've been cashed. If you find he has put a stop payment on the check then you can get him for stealing and take him too small claims court because he does still owe you the money.

  • George
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    If he took back the original checks that he wrote to you then you cant cash the checks you need the original checks, scanned copies are of no use to the bank they wont cash them...

    You will need to take your roommate to small claims court and sue him for the amount that he owes you...the scanned copies of the checks will provide proof that he did owe you money and at one time paid you the money but took back the checks...

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.