They are not really checks

People who receive checks unexpectedly from companies they don’t know could be in for a surprise if they cash the checks, something a legislative bill is written to avoid.

The mailings often are "live checks," documents that once endorsed obligate the mail recipient to busy good or services. Often, they think they just are cashing a $10 or $15 check, not realizing they are promising future spending.

Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, and Sen. Kathy Saltzman, DFL-Woodbury, have offered bills that limit "live check" use. The bills await action by the House and Senate.

“By cashing that live check, you’re actually buying some service which you had no intention of purchasing in the first place,” Falk said.

“In many cases, people don’t know they’ve been tricked until it’s already too late,” Falk said. “Unknown charges and fees start showing up on their credit card statement for high-cost, low-value products or services they don’t want. Soon what looked like a quick ten bucks turns into a hundred-dollar headache."

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