The in Audubon Court was stiffed for $500 when it recently received a check that had been drawn on a closed account.
It's an increasingly rare occurance an era when few businesses take checks, even while many businesses in Fox Point and Bayside have customers who still prefer them, officer Jennifer Mioduszewski said.
Officer John Adamaitis of the said that he hasn't heard of a bad check in years. He attributes that to the equipment that businesses have now. A problematic check can be handled instantly, instead of in a matter of days.
"These days, with the technology, it's difficult to float a bad check. You just can't do it," Adamaitis said. "There's more of a problem with than with bad checks recently. Criminals are pretty creative."
Mioduszewski said they’ve only had one case of a worthless check used locally in 2011, but there have been some other reports of fraud such as and .
“If we find out a person closed an account after writing a check, we go after them and force them to repay within a certain amount of days or they’ll be cited,” Mioduszewski said.
To avoid these fraud situations, she suggests that businesses only accept cash, credit or debit cards. However, if the demand for check acceptance is high enough, Mioduszewski said Telecheck — a small check reader — is a good way to verify the validity of a check.
“Very few people even use checks anymore but there are paid services that businesses can use to help. Telecheck can tell them right away if that check is a good check or not,” she said.
Atypic co-owner Debbie Sladky said they’ve only had a mishap like this a few times in the 25 years they’ve been in business, so she’s reluctant to change their policy and does not use the Telecheck equipment.
“I’ve had people I know who have been coming in for years, who write out checks,” Sladky said.
But Telecheck is not a cheap service. It can cost retailers over $200 for the printer and terminal as well as a monthly fee. So for a smaller business like the Atypic Gallery, which has an intimate relationship with a lot of its customers, the juice might not be worth the squeeze.
"We prefer checks. We trust our clients. We've only had it happen a few times in six years of business," owner Tami Kaprelian said.
So, for now, Atyipc Gallery and a handful of other small businesses in Fox Point and Bayside will continue accepting checks. And as long as this remains an infrequent occurrence, Atypic Gallery clerk Karen Gaudes said she's not worried.
“Because we don’t normally have any problems, I’m not overly apprehensive about it," she said.