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Bad Check Restitution Program

The Polk County Attorney’s Bad Check Restitution Program is designed to aid local merchants who have been victimized by bad check losses.

The goal is to increase the accountability of bad check writers and to recover the losses for the business without increasing the administrative burden on the court system.

Click Here for more information about the Bad Check Restitution Program and to download a bad check complaint form.

“Don’t Be a Victim of Bad Checks”
Cutting Your Losses Is As Easy As 1-2-3
  1. Make personal contact with the check writer; if you are unsuccessful, send a courtesy notice. The check writer has 10 days to respond and remit payment.
  2. If you do not hear from the check writer or receive payment, simply contact the Bad Check Restitution Program at 800-368-7235 and register as a participating merchant.
  3. Fill out the complaint form, attach originals (you retain photocopies) of all checks and notification documents, such as return receipts and bank notices, and mail to:
    Polk County Attorney Bad Check Restitution Program
    P.O. Box 93145
    Des Moines, IA 50393
    (postal address only)

If you do not receive restitution within 90 days, contact the Polk County Attorney Bad Check Restitution Program.

Polk County Attorney Bad Check Restitution Program works because...
  • Bad check complaints are easy to file and follow-up action is prompt.
  • Upon recovery, 100 percent of the face value of the check is returned to the merchants.
  • There is no minimum dollar restriction.
  • Bad check offenders must complete an eight-hour education class at their expense.
  • The program operates at no cost to the county or the taxpayers.
How to determine a check’s eligibility for the program

A check is Eligible if ...

  • The amount is no more than $1,000 (or multiple checks not exceeding this limit). There are no minimum dollar restrictions.
  • It was received in Polk County, deposited in a bank in exchange for goods or services presumed “good” at the time of acceptance.
  • A “courtesy notice” is sent to the check writer allowing 10 days to make the check good.
  • It is submitted to the program within 90 days from the date on the check.
  • A photo I.D. (drivers license, military I.D., state identification card) was recorded at the time of the transaction.

A check is Ineligible if ...

  • It is post-dated.
  • Both parties knew there were insufficient funds at the time of transaction.
  • It is a two party, government, rent, or payroll check.
  • The identity of the check writer is unknown.
  • There is no amount, date, or signature on the check.
  • It has not been processed by a bank.
  • The numeric and written amount on the check does not match.
  • The check involves an “extension of credit” or was payment on an account.

Checks ineligible for the County Attorney’s Bad Check Program may be pursued via small claims court process or by a private collection agency.

Check Acceptance Tips:
  • Institute a check acceptance policy. A clearly posted check acceptance policy for your employees and customers can go a long way toward reducing your losses.
  • Accept checks written only with today’s date. Post-dated checks are civil matters and are not accepted in the County Attorney’s Bad Check Program.
  • Trust your instincts! If something doesn’t seem right, ask questions or ask for another form of payment. You are not obligated to accept a check.