Check verification is more difficult now than ever. CheckLookup.com is a fantastic tool to help determine if a check is real, or if it is likely to clear.
The only system of its kind, checklookup.com allows anyone with a land-line phone in the USA, to call and verify up to two (2) checks through the system.
Find out what bank the check is drawn on. Find out the banks phone number and location. Contact the bank directly to verify the account or that there are funds available to cover the check.
Returned check fees are increasing every year, some topping $39 or more, just for depositing a check that bounces. Avoiding such charges by verifying a check in advance is a much better method.