Fake Postal Money Order Scams Hit Central IllinoisPosted:
An afternoon trip to the mailbox yielded something unexpected for Greg Wright.
"I opened the mail and I didn't see anything in the envelope at first," Wright says. "Pulled it open further, and I found this."
Inside, what looked like a postal money order, made out to him in the amount of $975. Nothing else in the envelope at all. He and his fiance took it to the post office where they learned it was a fake.
"She looked right at it and it's like she knew right away just by looking at it that it was a fictitious document," Wright says.
Postal Inspector Basil Demczak says they see this all the time.
"It's counterfeit," Demczak says. "It's fraudulent and if you cash it, the bank's going to hold you responsible for the funds."
Generally, these fake postal money orders come with a letter from out of the country scammers.
"They want you to cash that check and they'll tell you to keep a portion of that for your hassle and then send it back," Demczak says.
But these checks never clear, and you're out the cash. But it gets worse.
"You could go to jail," Wright. "This would link you right to this thing if you try to cash it."
There are easy ways to spot a fake.
"Number one you just hold it up to any light and it's got a watermark of Ben Franklin," Demczak says.
Plus, a real postal money order has an embedded silver strip that won't tear like the fake ones.
"I think it's horrible I hope they get caught," Wright says. "I really do. Because this could get a lot of innocent people in trouble."
The postal inspector tells me they have agents abroad tracking these scammers and have had success in prosecuting some of them. If you receive a money order in the mail, there's a toll free number to call: 1(866)459-7882