smart spending

6 common but illegal money habits that can get you in big trouble

Writing bad checks
Writing 'bad' checks | REB Images/Blend Images/Getty Images

Writing bad checks

Many banks offer overdraft protection that kicks in if you write a check that exceeds your account balance. But writing a check that you know is no good is illegal. The risk isn't negligible: Kaplan says some people do get prosecuted for writing bad checks.

"Not only are there criminal penalties involved, but you get put on a list of bad-check writers," she says. "A lot of places won't accept your checks, and you may have difficulty opening a bank account again because you've been labeled as a fraudster."

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