The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is alerting financial institutions and their customers to beware of the latest fraud scheme involving counterfeit postal money orders.

Postal Inspectors are offering valuable advice concerning the security features of postal money orders. Similar to United States currency, postal money orders are specially designed with different colored inks, watermarks, and security threads. Genuine postal money orders contain ALL of the following features:

Two security markings, which can be viewed by holding the postal money order to the light:

  1. Benjamin Franklin images (watermarks) concealed in a white oval on the leftfront side of the money order, visible on both the front and reverse sides when held to light, and
  2. A dark security thread on the front of the money order, running top to bottom to the right of the Franklin watermark, which when held to light reveals the word “USPS” repeating through the thread and alternating right-side up and up-side down in format. The words should only be visible when held to a light source.

Warning instructions printed on the reverse

Denominations displayed in two locations on the front, without discoloration around the dollar amounts (discoloration may indicate alteration)

Maximum value for domestic postal money orders is $1,000; international postal money orders are limited to $700.

For additional information and resources on fraudulent money orders: