[OT] Re: Best practice for periodic key change?

Jerome Baum jerome at jeromebaum.com
Sat May 7 19:42:06 CEST 2011

Hey not that any of this relates to the original question on digital
signatures, but interesting nonetheless so I guess let's keep it on the list
as OT.

On Sat, May 7, 2011 at 19:16, Jean-David Beyer <jeandavid8 at verizon.net>wrote:
> When I was on a grand jury, the prosecutor said that while the words of
> the law made it illegal to write a post dated check (in this state),
> that they did not prosecute for this unless there was intent to commit a
> fraud, and that is difficult to prove.

In that case we had a different understanding. Checks aren't common over
here and I never saw a post-dated check -- which I assumed is a check that
is meant to be available after a certain date -- not a check that is signed
incorrectly. However if it is common practice to post-date checks, then it
is reasonable not to prosecute as the date probably doesn't say "I signed
this check on the 5th" but rather just "5". It's then a matter of
interpretation, and common practice dictates interpretation here. I'd
interpret it as "I want this to be available after the 5th". Also see below
about prosecution.

> A friend who worked at a bank said they never looked at the dates, but
> cashed them when presented unless there were insufficient funds to honor
> them. So there is no use in writing a post dated check unless the person
> to whom it is presented holds on to it until the date.

It seems here that people who write "post-dated" checks the way you describe
them don't quite understand what that particular date means (or I
misunderstood you). What you describe is the signature date, and that date
is *supposed* to be the date when you signed it. Using a different date is
lying, but as you say it won't be prosecuted unless there is intended fraud
or actual damage. It isn't usually illegal to lie (there may be specific
exceptions e.g. checks), unless there is consequent damage. In fact, there
are laws that explicitly allow lying even with consequent damage -- think

> As treasurer of a tax deductible organization, I use the date on the
> check as the date of the donation except sometimes I do not. I do not
> when it is dated something late in December, but postmarked mid January
> or later. In that case, I use the postmark date.

Obviously can't tell about the situation elsewhere but the donation date is
supposed to be the date when you received the donation. If it's a cashier's
check -- which apparently aren't allowed over here -- then it's the date you
received it (*maybe* postmark date). If it's a normal check, it would be the
date you cashed it in. The (non-cashier's) check itself isn't the actual
payment, it's just a paper slip that instructs the bank to do the payment.

However, YMMV.

> So people writing pre-dated or post-date checks are wasting their time.

Even if the checks had a field "don't cash in until", I would still agree
with you. At my bank, I left clear instructions on the deposit box card to
require gov. ID for anyone trying to access my deposit box. The second time
I accessed it (i.e. the first time after getting it) they were fine with
just my key, didn't even ask for ID of any kind. I pointed it out and the
clerk said "oh, well it should be highlighted so we don't overlook it" --
funny thing is, it's the only thing on the card besides access times, there
is an "ID" column on the card as it's apparently common to require ID, and
it was a clerk from the same branch who wrote it on the card originally.

Overall banks are much more sloppy than I'd expect/hope them to be.

Jerome Baum

tel +49-1578-8434336
email jerome at jeromebaum.com
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