Hot check writing is on the rise in Potter County.
Amarillo merchants are reconsidering their check acceptance policies, some have stopped accepting checks period. That's because they are taking a bit hit from bad check writers, with supermarkets and gas stations taking the biggest punch. Currently there's about a million dollars in bad checks outstanding. Potter county attorney Scott Brumley says the volume of bad checks written not only hurts the merchant but the economy in Amarillo.
"If they're getting bad checks their not going to be able to pay the bills they need to pay. So that ripples out into the community. Money that should be flowing through the economy suddenly is not and that's a problem."
Brumley says several hundred warrants were issued to bad check writers in january and so far they have collected 45,000 dollars in restitution.
Keith Schlesener a local locksmith says he receives quite a few bad checks each month, but has to continue to accept checks because of the nature of his business, but he says he will have to be stricter.
"I'm going to try to interview them a bit better and get their license number and ask for Id and maybe I'll even ask them if I can take their picture."
Schlesener has been an Amarillo business owner for 15 years and he says all of the bad check writers are hurting his business.
"Well a 20 dollar check, my services are gone and the monies gone, then I have to run around trying to collect the money so yeah it's quite an impact."
Schlesener says he blames the popularity of debit cards for the bad checks.
"Some people do it on purpose, but a lot of people do it on accident and i even blame electronic banking. They check their banking account with their computer it shows they have so much money, but then they have some checks out there that haven't reached the bank yet and then they think they have more in there then they actually got."
Brumley says this is one way merchants can help them collect.
"The longer you go, the less of a chance you will have to collect on that check, and the less of the chance you will have to make a good criminal case."
The Potter and Randall County Hot Checks division both say as soon as you know that check is no good, file a claim.