How to Verify a Money Order
It can be difficult to tell if a money order is valid or just another scam. There are some ways that you can verify the information that is present. You should never trust the banking information that is printed on the money order. Look up the institution on you own and contact the number that you have personally located to request verification. If you cannot find the institution, then your money order is probably a scam.
Why Look Up the Number On Your Own?
Scammers know that you will likely call the number on the money order and ask to verify funds. It is not uncommon for them to print their own contact number so that they can “verify” the funds themselves. Instead of talking to the bank, you're talking to the scammers. Independently verifying this information will protect you against this problem. When you call to verify funds, all a bank can do is match up the information you have from the money order to their records. They can let you know a money order like the one you hold was issued by their bank. They cannot actually guarantee that you're going to get paid. A new scam is to issue one legitimate money order and then duplicate it to other individuals. One person gets the money, but the rest get nailed by the scam. That's why a bank can't 100% guarantee that you'll get paid.
How Can You Limit Your Losses?
A best practice when it comes to money orders is to never accept one that comes from an international source. There are multiple ways to send money internationally and those who want to do business with you will meet your requirements. If you do accept money orders, only accept them from local sources or through a service like Western Union. Never accept a money order that is for more than the agreed upon amount. This is a good indication that the money order is a fake. As a final step, wait for the money order to clear before releasing any products that have been purchased. It make take up to 15 business days for the payment to clear, which can be problematic if you're being paid with a money order for rent. As an alternative, request a cashier's check instead, which can be issued by a financial institution for anyone.
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