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No. of Recommendations: 2
He will send a new check. He just wants to protect himself against someone having stolen it out of the mail and depositing it.

If I were in his position, I'd ask the payee what they will do if the lost check shows up. Maybe it got stuck in a crack somewhere either in the postal system or in the vendor's internal mail system. If it gets discovered, it could be delivered to its intended destination. What happens then?

The most believable answer I got from a utility to that question was that if they recognized the situation, they'd return the check; but there was a good chance that it wouldn't be recognized and the payment would be credited to the account I was paying. Since this was an ongoing relationship and the amount was unlikely to cause any bounced checks, I let that one slide. It turned out the check was never found.

I've also fielded a question from a vendor who had a check come back as stopped. That one was for my employer. It turned out that the employer put a routine stop order on uncleared checks at year end, including one that had been mailed out for a legitimate bill in late December. Fixing that was interesting.

A stop payment does not mean that the check won't be paid or that it ends his liability for the check.

Um, so what's the point of a stop payment?

If his bank is on the ball, a stop payment will last long enough so that after it expires, the check is stale dated. If a stale dated check clears, your friend could complain to his bank and have a chance that they fix the situation.

The annoying thing is that some banks may have a stop payment for only six months but not regard a check as stale dated for a year. The last time I asked, my credit union's stop payments lasted for a year.

And what can he do to prevent against my above scenario of a stolen check?

The risk of this check being stolen isn't particularly more than the risk of any other check in the mail being stolen. If it ends up being cashed, the first thing to do is to check whether it was cashed by the payee. If it turns out that it was cashed by someone else, there should be a process to follow for a claim of loss for fraudulent check cashing. I've never had to go there, so I don't know how it works, or how well it works.

The only thing I know of to proactively prevent the check from being cashed is a stop payment. The stop payment isn't perfect, and isn't guaranteed; but it would give your friend a claim for the money if the check clears during the period when the stop payment was in effect. Your friend has to decide whether the stop payment gives him enough of a benefit to be worth the cost. I wouldn't mess with a stop payment for a check under $100 unless I had a good reason to believe that the check was likely to be stolen and not simply lost.

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