You have to sign a check in order to deposit it. You simply sign the check on the back before giving it to the teller. But you may find yourself in a position where you can’t do this yourself, so you can also sign the check over to someone else. You just write “pay to the order of,” followed by their name, and then you sign the check.
But take this one step further. Say you have a check from someone else that you’re supposed to deposit on their behalf. They forgot to sign it. Can you sign their name on the back in order to give yourself the right to cash the check for them?
You can only do this with permission
This is technically possible, as you can get permission from the other person to do so. But it is fraud if you don’t have permission, so it’s very critical that you know that you’re allowed to do it.
For this reason, signing a check for someone else is something of a risk. Say that you believe you have permission to do so, and you sign the check. Then the other party says that you were never given permission to sign at all. Now you’re being accused of check fraud or even theft, and you just thought that you were doing what was necessary and what you were allowed to do. How do you prove that you actually thought you had permission and you weren’t really trying to commit fraud?
You can see how complicated it can become. If you do find yourself in this position, you could be facing some serious charges. Make sure you understand all of your criminal defense options at this time.