Ask McFartnuggets: “Can I Cash A Check Written Out To Someone With The Same Name As Me?”

Having a common name can make
you susceptible to identity theft and
check fraud.
Dear McFartnuggets: 
If I found a check made out to someone with exact same name as me could I cash or deposit it? How could they know it wasn’t me? -- Bob from Dallas, Texas

Dear Bob:
I think that’s why you have to sign the back of a check. Oddly enough I don’t think banks really analyze or scan the signatures. I’ve probably signed checks a thousand different ways before and they always get put through regardless. In order for banks to scan signatures they would need to have your signature on file and that seems like a lot of work for them. I don’t even know why signatures are used for security purposes. I think it’s just a formality like the UPS pad or the thing at store checkouts where you make a scribble that doesn’t resemble your signature at all and it still goes through. I think if you tried to cash or deposit a check made out to someone with your exact name it would go through. The problem is the person the check was intended for would probably mention that they hadn’t received the money and the person who wrote the check would look into what happened and they’d probably be able to trace it back to you. At that point you’d likely be facing jail time. So yeah you probably could cash it, but you shouldn’t because that’s technically theft.

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