Robi Mandell was surprised to see a priority mail package in her mailbox Saturday afternoon. The letter inside was allegedly from a secret shopper business asking Mandell to go to Walmart, spend $20, and write them back about her experience. But that's not all. They also wanted her to go to her nearest Western Union and wire $825 to Paris, France.
She knew it was a scam and immediately went to put the letter back in the envelope and throw it out, but that's when she noticed the US Postal Service money order for $995.
"This one looks really real, not that I'd fall for it, but it's a really good job of falsifying a money order. It's got the postal emblem, it's got the silver strip, it's torn off like money orders are," said Mandell.
Her first call was to the post office, and then she called police.
Mandell and her husband plan on taking the fake money order to the post office so federal officers can investigate. Pass money orders through the US Mail is a federal offense, but victims of fraud are not prosecuted. However, if a victim cashes a bogus money order, most financial institutions will hold them responsible for repayment.
Here are some tips for telling between a real money order and a fake one. Real money orders have a security strip embedded all the way through and it is continuous. If you hold a fake one up, you can see there are breaks in the strip. You should also be able to see the watermark all the way through the money order.