How long before a check really clears?

I’ve been invited to be a “secret shopper” which we all know is a scam. Allegedly, you’re checking on customer service at Western Union. They mail you a check. You deposit the check. Two days later when the check clears, you wire most of the money to someone else and report on WU customer service. Sometime later, the check is found to be a forgery and the money is withdrawn from your account. You’re out about two thousand dollars.

It got me to thinking. How long before a check really clears? If someone forges a check to my account, how much time do I have to dispute the forgery and reverse the transaction? At what point do I have to use the courts rather than simply reversing the transaction?

I recall reading about a case where it took about six months before a check was finally deemed fraudulent. My understanding is that there is no set cut-off point at which the check is officially proclaimed good; if it hasn’t been actually paid then you’re responsible for it eventually.

Previous topic posted by me on this very question:

I was hoping, perhaps like you, that there is a magic point where a bank can no longer administratively make a check bounce, and that, at that point, the check is considered fully honored and that any further claims must be processed through the courts as either a civil lawsuit or a criminal prosecution for fraud, forgery, or some other kindred offense with a request for an order that the defendant pay restitution or return the money, but it looks like that there may not be a specific point where that is the case.

Perhaps one to three years is the answer: