Don't Break the Law When Dealing With Money

Often times businesses or individuals break the law when it comes to money habits, without even knowing what is being done is wrong. Certain practices are illegal and can lead to bad credit or even prosecution.

Counterfeiting and forgery seem something right out of a best-selling crime novel, but many regular folks engage in these activities -- among others -- every day. What's more, they may not even know they're doing something illegal. To avoid trouble, it's best to be aware of dealings with money that could land one in hot water.

Forgery: Signing someone else's name to a check is forgery, even if this person is a spouse, elderly family member who needs help or a boss who has authorized a check to be signed. The proper legal procedures should be taken to give one power of attorney to sign checks in another person's name. Otherwise, an individual could be asking for trouble.

Counterfeiting: Few people are running currency through the home printer to pass off as actual bills. Although, advancements in technology can enable the "regular Joe" to produce print-outs that are very realistic. However, oftentimes checks or currency are photocopied to serve as a receipt or record. This can constitute as counterfeiting in the U.S. unless the bills are copied 75 percent larger than actual size. If a color copy is made, only one side of the bill can be copied.

Insufficient funds: Writing checks knowingly with inadequate funds in an account to cover the check is breaking the law. Some people do get prosecuted for writing "bad" checks. At the minimum, a business or individual may no longer be trusted to issue checks, or could find their credit rating suffers as a result of poor money management.

Defacing currency: Purposely cutting, taping, gluing, or writing on currency is considered defacing legal tender and could land individuals in hot water. If the bill will be rendered unusable by the marking, it's probably against the law. Before a person tries to mend a torn bill, take it to a bank to see if it can be exchanged.