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US Postal Service Warns Consumers about Suspicious Money Orders

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Posted: Feb 7, 2013 12:22 PM

Updated: Feb 7, 2013 12:34 PM

DONNA - A Donna teen said he got a suspicious money order a few days ago. The $990 money order was delivered along with a letter. It stated Victor Vicencio was selected as part of a mystery shopper program.

The letter instructed him to cash the money order at his bank, spend some of the money at Wal-Mart, keep some for himself and then wire the rest to the Philippines.

The problem is if the money order is counterfeit, the money would eventually come out of Vicencio's account.

U.S. postal inspectors said suspicious money orders attempting to victimize recipients are a national problem, and now it's turning up in the Rio Grande Valley.

Most of them come from foreign countries.

"They come from all over. Usually they're just mass mailed," explained Stephanie K. Harden, a public information officer for the Houston division of the U.S. Postal Inspector's Office.

She added the money orders are mostly unsolicited.

A real money order is should have a Ben Franklin watermark on the back, if held it up to a light. We didn't see the watermark on the money order Vicencio had.

A postal inspectors' automated phone system can be used to check on whether a money order is valid. It takes 48 hours from a money order's issue date before it gets into the system.

The one sent to Vicencio was dated Monday. We'll be calling in today to try to verify whether the one Vicencio received is valid.

There's also another way to check on whether a suspicious money order is legitimate. Go to a local post office. Any post office can check its validity.

Topics: Money order, suspicious, mystery shopper program, usps

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