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Junior Member
What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state? Kentucky

I have a question about the legality of merchants photocopying bounced checks and displaying them for other customers to see. I don't think there is a law concerning this. I would just like to say that I don't have a bounced check hanging up anywhere, but it still concerns me.

Are these merchants allowed to expose you to identity theft? These checks display the phone numbers, addresses, checking account numbers, and some of them have their social security numbers on them. It does not seem that this should be legal. I called the county attorney's office (believe me, you do not have to have a personality to be employed there :rolleyes: ) and spoke with a lady who informed me that these people should not have written these bad checks (O.K. write a bad check and you deserve to be a victim of identity theft, I suppose). I politely informed her that she was assuming that all of these people had written these bad checks intentionally, and that sometimes, because we are human, people do make honest mistakes. She curtly replied that she could not help me, and hung up the phone. If everyone were to rise to her level of perfection I'm sure this world would be a better place. :D

I suppose my other point would be that these persons were already punished by being subjected to fines from both the merchant, and their bank. Should someone be continually persecuted for weeks, or months, for something that could possibly be a mistake? But, my main concern is the risk of identity theft. If someone did steal this information and used it to clean out someones bank account, or steal their identity, and were caught at this, would that merchant be liable for damages if the offender named the merchant as his source of information.

Sorry so lengthy, but this really puts me out. Perhaps someone could tell me how to go about persuing this, and perhaps making it illegal. Thank you!



Good points.

I have seen other stores put up on their billboards the names of people who have bounced checks. That is all that is there; just the names.

I'll bet the folks who bounced checks must get a charge out of seeing their name every time they drive by the store on their way to work! :D
The whole purpose of identity theft is "stealing" someone's good credit history to obtain loans, credit cards, etc that the thief cannot afford or is not eligible for. Who would want to steal the identity of a person who bounces checks?? It's doubtful they would have great credit anyway. But, then again, criminals aren't always very smart. Overall, I think most people who bounce checks (not all, anyone can make a unintentional mistake) have bigger problems to worry about than identity theft.


"...Who would want to steal the identity of a person who bounces checks??..."

Thankfully, it does not appear that you know much about identity theft or con artists in general. All someone needs is a name and a social security number and they can wreak all kinds of havoc.

You Are Guilty

Senior Member
Interesting question.

I haven't found a specific statute on privacy, but this administrative regulation popped up and may be applicable. However, I have not checked to see what section this comes from, so there's a good chance it only applies to one-toothed farmers name Joe-Bob who are married to their sister.

601 KAR 2:020. Drivers' privacy protection.

RELATES TO: KRS 61.874, 61.878(5), 187.310, 18 U.S.C. 2721

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 187.300(1), 18 U.S.C. 2721

NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS 187.300(1) requires the cabinet to promulgate administrative regulations to implement KRS Chapter 187. KRS 187.310 requires the cabinet to furnish, upon request, an abstract of the operating record of a person subject to KRS 187.290 to 187.620. 18 USC 2721 mandates the information which can and cannot be included in information sold or otherwise distributed about motor vehicle operators or owners. This administrative regulation establishes the circumstances and conditions governing the distribution or sale of personal information.

Section 1. Definition. "Personal information" means information that identifies an individual including the following:

(1) Name;

(2) Address, excluding the zip code;

(3) Social Security number;

(4) Date of birth;

(5) Driver identification number;

(6) Telephone number;

(7) Photograph; and

(8) Medical or disability information.

Section 2. A person’s driver’s license photo or computerized image, Social Security number, or medical or disability information from a motor vehicle record, driver’s license or permit, motor vehicle registration, or identification document shall not be disseminated except for:

(1) Use by a government agency including a court or law enforcement agency in carrying out its functions or a private person or entity acting on behalf of a federal, state, or local agency in carrying out its functions;

(2) Use in connection with a civil, criminal, administrative, or arbitral proceeding in a federal, state, or local court or agency or before a self-regulatory body, including the service of process, investigation in anticipation of litigation, and the execution or enforcement of judgments and orders, or pursuant to an order of a federal, state, or local court;

(3) Use by an insurer or insurance support organization, or by a self-insured entity, or its agents, employee, or contractor, in connection with claims investigation activities, antifraud activities, rating, or underwriting; or

(4) Use by employer, or its agents or insurer to obtain or verify information relating to a holder of a commercial driver’s license that is required under the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, 49 USC 31301 through 31317.


Senior Member
Just out of curiosity, all the places that I know that do this is because they still have the bad checks and never collected the money. I don't know of any that do it for every person that has ever written them a bad check or the lists would be just way to long. Atleast the stores that I know of that does it, does it because it has not been paid, therefore if it was just a mistake then it wouldn't be up there. Also, if it's not paid and you file a warrant for it, then doesn't it become public information anyway? Just my thoughts on it.
seniorjudge said:
"...Who would want to steal the identity of a person who bounces checks??..."

Thankfully, it does not appear that you know much about identity theft or con artists in general. All someone needs is a name and a social security number and they can wreak all kinds of havoc.
Unfortunately, I HAVE had the experience of someone misusing my name to fraudulently remove funds from my checking account. I know how much hassle it was to correct the problem. And, although no expert, that incident led me to research all the information available through the Federal Trade Commission, Dept of Justice, etc. I also spoke with police & banking officials. Identity theft is insidious and can cause a variety of problems for the victims. However, please review the statistics on this crime. The most common types of fraud involve either misusing the victim's current accounts (bank or credit card accounts) OR using the victim's credit history to establish new fraudulent accounts (checking, credit cards, loans). Suffice to say, most identity thieves are looking for victims with good credit and/or drainable assets--people bouncing checks is not an indicator of that. As I said before--if someone is bouncing checks, they're probably facing bigger problems than worrying about identity theft.


Junior Member
Hi! I wanted to thank everyone for their replies, and their thoughts on this matter. I would just like to say that I still believe the merchant is being irresponsible in displaying that personal information. There is no reason that the merchant can't either write, or type, those patrons names onto a list and display that without the personal information. I agree that most identity thieves are using those identities for purchases, or to drain other assets, but by using the phrase "the most common" you are also recognizing that there are the 'uncommon'. People usually watch out for the common, but it's the uncommon that jumps up and bites you in the rear before you can turn around. I don't want to assume that everyone who perpetrates this sort of crime is methodical and calculating. For example, why would someone you don't even know send you a computer virus? They aren't getting any monetary gain, and it isn't revenge because they don't even know you. They do it simply because they can, and it gives them a feeling of power. There are lots of ways that someone could make your life miserable by having access to that information, just because they can!

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