'Tis the Season for Hot Checks - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/16/02

'Tis the Season for Hot Checks

There are only eight shopping days left until Christmas and shoppers are out in full force. Discounts and bargains can be found all across town and stores are staying packed with buyers, but along with the season of giving is the season of scams.

Hot checks circulating around town are just as common as packed stores this time of year. With so many people out shopping, officials say some times people just lose count of how much money they have, but the bigger problem is merchants not checking identification.

Shoppers are packing stores across town and with all their purchases how do store owners know they are getting good money? "We require two forms of id on all checks and credit cards," Sonja Cravens, the Assistant Manager of Rave Girl said.

"We always want to identify a person that is trying to use a check, we ask to see their drivers license and we compare the picture on the license and then we have a service where we enter the heck into the computer it will tell us if that person has ever had a problem writing checks," Rick Cohens, the owner of Nature's Gifts said.

"For the holidays we do get a lot of hot checks, we're currently not accepting checks over $200 in the amount and if an Associate is doing the check and the amount is over $100 then a Manager has to check it," Karen Oliver, the Assistant Manager of Vanity said.

These policies all sound good but many shoppers say it doesn't always happen. "I've been shopping for a couple of months and no one has really id'ed me yet."

"To me it's more of a hassle when they do it but I understand why they do it. However it doesn't concern me when they don't do it."

"Nope nobody has asked me for any kind of id."

"Yes everywhere. It's a good thing, it protects me."

Of the people we talked to, only two said they are often asked for proof of identification, authorities say it needs to happen all of the time. "They need to ask for a drivers license look at the picture make sure the picture is the person and copy the information off of the driver's license. The people writing the checks need to keep a good ledger and know what they've spent and the people that are taking the check need to get proper id," said James "Buster" Tucker, Administrator of the Check office said.

Authorities with Lubbock's hot check division suggest you leave your birth date and your drivers license number off of your checks. That way a clerk will have to ask for the information, and if your checks are ever lost or stolen, the finder won't have much access.

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