Fraudulent U.S. Postal Service money orders used in latest hot scam
posted by Mike Burke on Monday, July 20, 2020 in SHAZAM Blog
Times are tough right now. People are online looking for employment and other opportunities to make some extra money. Well aware of this, fraudsters are employing the secret shopper scam, which sometimes uses fraudulent U.S. Postal Service money orders, to bilk untold amounts of money from unsuspecting victims.
In the secret shopper scam, victims receive a check or money order along with a letter telling them to deposit the funds, usually $1,000-$3,000, into their own financial institution account. The letter often states the monies will clear within 24 hours, which ends up being untrue. The victim is advised to go to different stores within the next day or two to purchase gift cards while observing the customer service they receive at each location.
After purchasing the gift cards, they’re told to either send in the gift cards or provide the gift card information to a certain individual who’s part of the fraud game. Often 90% of the money from the check or money order is spent on the gift cards, and 10% is the wage the victim receives for taking part. Not a bad payday of $100-$300 for just buying gift cards with guaranteed money in the bank, right? Wrong!
A few days later, the victim is notified by their financial institution that the check or money order is fraudulent. The guarantee just expired! The victim spent their own money, typically $900-$2,700, and now the fraudster has a free shopping spree.
U.S. Postal Service money orders that look very authentic have been part of this fraud scheme. To help counter this situation, the Postal Service created a new online tool to verify the status of validly issued Postal Service money orders: https://tools.usps.com/money-orders.htm. Also on the website: How to spot a fake.
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About the Author
Mike Burke is a veteran law enforcement professional with experience in criminal justice instruction, homeland security and fraud investigation. He guides SHAZAM clients to enhance their security measures and ensure regulatory compliance.
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