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U.S. Postal Service Asks Banks to Help Fight Money Order Fraud

Thursday, July 1, 2004

The U.S. Postal Service is seeing an increase in counterfeit U.S. Postal Money Orders (PMOs). Redemption of counterfeit notes creates significant losses for financial institutions nationwide; so, the Postal Service has redesigned the PMOs and begun a campaign to help cashiers identify counterfeit items.

Some of the PMO's new security features include:

  • use of colored inks;
  • a crisp, textured paper stock;
  • a silver "USPS" security thread embedded in the paper;
  • a watermark of Benjamin Franklin, which appears on the left side of the PMO when it is held up to the light;
  • the U.S. Postal Service shield, which appears on the right side of the PMO; and
  • red ink bleeds, which appear on the back side of the paper.

Additionally, denominations are placed in two locations on the PMO and cannot be greater than $1,000. Also, discoloration appears around the denomination amounts if they have been erased.

The Postal Service is asking cashiers to:

  • thoroughly inspect PMOs at the time of presentment;
  • read the warning instructions, which are listed on the reverse side of the PMO;
  • look for the PMO security features; and
  • intercept all PMOs they suspect are fraudulent.

More information about the new security features can be obtained by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS or by visiting If your bank intercepts a counterfeit item, contact your local post office and ask for the local postal inspection service office, or call Postal Inspector Travist C. Wiggins at (314) 436-6895.