LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- When money orders -- sometimes for hundreds of dollars -- arrive on their doorstep out of the blue, some unsuspecting victims thought it was their lucky day.
And 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," said U.S. Postal Inspector Thomas Kingery.
The crooks were counting on recipients to deposit the money orders. When that happened, the scam artists would gain access to the victims' bank account information.
Another problem with these money orders: they were 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 watermark of Benjamin Franklin on the far left side.
"On the counterfeits the water mark is actually printed on the outside of the paper,” Kingery said. “It's not a true watermark where it is visible when you hold it up to the light."
If you ever receive a suspect 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.