Man Overboard

Postal Inspectors provide these tips:

  1. Postal Money Orders have security features that distinguish them from other financial instruments. A watermark of Benjamin Franklin is visible on both the front and reverse side of the money order when held to the light.
  2. A dark security thread running (top to bottom) to the right of the Franklin watermark, with the tiny letters “USPS” facing backward and forward.
  3. Most counterfeit Postal Money Orders are domestic, with a face value of $750 to $950.

Scheme Information

Man Overboard

Close-up of Benjamin Franklin watermark and security thread


Church Congregation Victimized by Scam Artist


There are an increasing number of scams today where criminals use counterfeit financial instruments as part of the scheme. Postal Inspectors are making significant progress in combating fraud involving counterfeit checks, postal money orders, and non-postal money orders. Scammers use sophisticated software and printers to produce fake checks and money orders. The counterfeits we see lack security features, but many are close enough to look legitimate and fool unwitting consumers and bank personnel.

You can always tell if a postal money order is real. The telltale watermark of Benjamin Franklin, visible when held to the light, runs through the white oval on the left front side of the money order. Counterfeit ones can’t duplicate a watermark. Also a dark security thread with the letters USPS runs from the top to bottom of the money order. Verify those security features to make sure you don’t get scammed.

If you believe you’ve been scammed, report it at postalinspectors.uspis.gov or call us at 877-876-2455.