Target 2: No Such Thing as Free Money (Orders) - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Target 2: No Such Thing as Free Money (Orders)

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There are dishonest people out there who would like you to think otherwise.

When money orders -- sometimes for hundreds of dollars -- arrived on their doorstep out of the clear blue, some unsuspecting victims thought it was their lucky day.

That's what the con artists wanted them to think.

"They were receiving large bundles of counterfeit money orders from West Africa and then divvying up the money orders to send across the country to people that had already been contacted via Internet scams or mail order scams," US Postal Inspector Thomas Kingery said.

The crooks were counting on people to deposit the money orders.

When that happened, they would gain access to the victim's bank account information.

Another problem with these money orders: They're counterfeit.

"There is a metallic security thread that in a real money order is woven into the paper. On the counterfeit it's just merely printed on the outside," Kingery said.

Also, real money orders have a watermark of Benjamin Franklin on the far left side.

"On the counterfeits the watermark is actually printed on the outside of the paper. It's not a true watermark where it is visible when you hold it up to the light."

If you get a suspicious money order in the mail, you can immediately take it to a post office and have a clerk take a look at it. They are trained to identify counterfeits.

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