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Before You Cash That Money Order, Make Sure Its Real

4:53 PM, Dec 24, 2013   |    comments
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UNDATED -- This time of year, money changes hands a lot.

Shopping, gift giving, and then paying all your everyday expenses! But a 2 Wants to Know viewer reached out after receiving a counterfeit money order. How did they know it was fake? And what should we watch out for?

Burlington-based postal inspector Mike Carroll said the first clue is the watermark. "If you look at this document without it being back-lit, this watermark should not be visible. You can see on the legitimate one you cannot see a watermark."

It's important to look for the warning signs on the money order because you could lose money. If you cash a fake check or money order, you may have to repay the bank -- from your own account. So Carroll said it's important to look for the watermark and a few other clues.

"The second security feature is this security thread that's running through the money order. There is actually a thread on the legitimate money order running all the way through the document. When you hold it up to the light, you see that that is one solid thread with USPS written forwards and backwards alternating down through that thread. The fake money order there its broken and just embossed on the document."

There are also things you should remember about real money orders. 

  • Real money orders will have warning instructions printed on the back.
  • You'll see the denominations in two locations -- both on the front. (There should not be any discoloration around the dollar amounts.)
  • There's a limit on how large a real money order can be!The maximum value for a domestic money order is $1,000.

So if someone offers you a money order for more money, that's a red flag too.

Carroll said, "There is no legitimate reason for someone to send you a check or money order and wire funds back to them, there is no legitimate reason for that and especially out of the country it should throw up some huge red flags."





WFMY News 2

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