Avoiding money order scams

Consumer Alerts

(NBC News) – An old scam that’s been around for years is rearing its ugly head again.

Not even your bank realizes it’s bogus until it’s too late.

In Robert Pike’s mailbox 3 years ago was a legitimate looking cashier’s check–paying him to become a mystery shopper.

A similar offer was just recently sent via FedEx to a colleague’s child, this time using a legitimate looking money order.

Justin Pritchard has written about scams like this for Thebalance.com.

“They’re very good at finding new ways to help you depart with your money,” said Pritchard.

He says it generally includes depositing the check you’re sent, then returning a portion of it to the scammer.

“The main red flag on all of these is that you’re sending money! In almost every case you’re supposed to be receiving money, but somehow they convince you to send money and they’re very good at that.”

Pritchard says it can take days before your bank figures out the documents are bogus.

“You let that money sit in your account and in fact go ahead and contact the bank ..that’s a great idea just to get in touch and say hey this is a deposit that i’m not a hundred percent sure about”

Robert Pike didn’t fall for it and neither did our colleague, especially after we texted the scammer at the number he provided in the cover letter– that came with that phony money order.

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