Is it permissible to cash a check that is found in the street, if the check is made out to "cash" and after attempting to locate an owner, none is found.

Would it be considered the same as finding a $20 bill in the street?

Additional details for the question

if a significant amount of time passes (say 1 month) would it be more permissible to cash a found check. This is considering that the writer of the check and the original intended receiver of the check would have had ample time to cancel the check, if they did not, what could that mean in our case?

(Additionally, is it legal to cash a found check? And would that affect the halacha of this situation?)

  • 3
    The maker of the check is usually written on it.
    – Chatzkel
    May 17, 2023 at 22:05
  • 1
    Regardless you can find out who the owner is with the account number on the check so it has a siman
    – Chatzkel
    May 17, 2023 at 22:06
  • 1
    What if the person who finds it is unable to contact the name on the check, or if the name is a general name like "john smith"?
    – The Targum
    May 17, 2023 at 22:06
  • 1
    You can contact the bank
    – Heshy
    May 17, 2023 at 22:19
  • 12
    Actually, this is a case when you can do hashavas aveidah without knowing who the owner is. If you rip up the check the owner keeps the money.
    – Heshy
    May 17, 2023 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


no. The reason is for a few reasons:

  1. Because the check is unique, it is identifiable and the owener will not have ye-ush.
  2. Finding the check is not the same as finding the money. While the bearer of the check may have given up on finding the money, we are not clear on what arrangement the payer had with the payee. Using the check may end up hurting the payer, who may have issued a new check to the payee. This argument might not be valid at all, and essentially boils down to whether a person has a mitzva of hashavat aveda for a sh'tar.

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