What can I do if someone forged my signature on a check and cashed it?

I went to the bank to withdraw all my savings. I got a cashier’s check and kept it for a year. Later when I wanted to cash it, I found out that someone else already cashed it. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on May 20, 2016 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if you lost control of a cashier's check and your signature was forged by someone else, the bank is not liable for the money; cashier's checks are as good as cash, so, like with cash, you have to maintain control of it, and if lost or stolen, you have to bear the brunt. If the check was deposited somewhere (e.g. into someone's account), the bank may be able to help you track or trace who did it, and if you find out who, you can sue and/or file charges; but if the person simply cashed it, you are very unlikely to ever find it again.
Where did you keep it? If only a limited number of people (e.g. a few family members; a housekeeper; an aide) had access to the location where it was kept, report this to the police and bring a list of those people to them--maybe they can investigate to find the person.

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