How to Dispute a Check That Was Not Authorized

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If you discover that money has been taken from your bank account via an unauthorized check, contact your bank immediately. Check fraud is a crime that affects your bank account and possibly your credit score. Fortunately, banks are aware of the popularity of check fraud and are prepared to aid you if you are a victim. Before contacting the bank, gather recent bank statements, your checkbook and your check log.

  • Contact the bank and request that they put a hold on the checking account. Putting a hold on the checking account does not close it, rather it freezes the account that prevents any funds from being withdrawn.

  • Collect all recent bank statements, your checkbook and check log. Gathering any recently saved receipts is also beneficial. If you have received the copy of the canceled check that you are claiming is unauthorized, gather that as well.

  • Visit the bank and speak with a bank manager. Take your documentation with you. Often times, the bank manager is the employee authorized to handle disputes. If your bank has a separate department, the manager will put you in contact with the correct person.

  • Request a dispute form, used by banks in the case of fraudulent activity on a customer's account. Filling out a dispute form, along with any other accompanying forms required by the individual bank, gives the bank legal permission to investigate the disputed charges to your bank account. The bank may provide you with additional forms for you to fill out which give them legal permission to involve outside agencies, such as private investigators or the police department, to aid them in their investigation.

  • Fill out all of the necessary forms and hand them to the bank manager. Give the bank manager your bank statements, checkbook, check log and any receipts so they may make copies of every document to have on file. Providing the bank with receipts helps them determine your spending habits. Your spending habits, which includes the places you shop and eat, along with the amount of money your normally spend, are all considered during the investigation. For example, if the unauthorized check in question was used to purchase an expensive dress at Macy's, but your spending habits show that you never spend money at large department stores, it may help provide evidence that the check was not authorized by you.

  • Write down the names and contact numbers of the bank employees handling your dispute in case you have any future questions.

  • Wait to hear from the bank in regards to the investigation. You might not hear back from the bank for 2 to 3 weeks.

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