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Rip-Off Alert: Faked money orders lead to real woes

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 11/19/2013 5:36 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- Who doesn’t want to make a little extra money on the side? Promises of cash with little to no work look great, but often, they're too good to be true.

It's the time of year when people look for ways to make extra holiday cash. But in this Rip-Off Alert from Kansas City, some cases prove to be a scam.

Counterfeit money orders are at the heart of a scam that starts with victims responding to a job ad that says: “Receive money orders in the mail, and then go shopping.”

“They would go to Wal-Mart, make purchases, and rate their service they received at Wal-Mart. Then they would go back to Western Union and mail back the remaining money to the suspect,” said U.S. Postal Inspector David Nitz.

After following those instructions, the victims would get a surprise after depositing the money orders into their bank account – the money orders were faked, and the victims were responsible to reimburse their banks.

Postal inspectors were tipped off to one recent case after customs intercepted a package containing $400,000 worth of counterfeit money orders.

“After making contact with this suspect, we did a search of her home and found $300,000 worth of money orders,” Nitz said.

In this specific scheme, there was 750 victims and more than $300,000 in losses. Inspectors say the scam is on the rise and targeting vulnerable victims.

“A lot of victims are already in financial distress,” Nitz said. “To get involved in something like this just compounds the problem.

“Don’t get involved in something that was unsolicited. Somebody sends you money orders or checks, and you don’t personally know them or haven’t been personally doing business with them, you shouldn’t be cashing those checks.”

Postal inspectors say if you ever want to verify if a money order is real, you can take it to a post office. Employees have been trained to detect counterfeits.
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