POSTAL INSPECTORS: THE SILENT SERVICE
An Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum
 
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FAKE MONEY ORDERS





Counterfeit money order made with inkjet printer




Image: Counterfeit money order made with inkjet printer
 
 

The Post Office Department began issuing money orders in 1864. Criminals followed the money, trying to exploit money orders to their advantage. Crooks have misused money orders by stealing blank ones from post offices, altering them to receive more money than the order was made for, and creating counterfeit money orders.

Three questioned versions of Joseph Newman's signature
Actual United States Postal Money Order

click to enlarge
Image: Actual United States Postal Money Order
 
Money order watermark
Money order watermark

click to enlarge
Money order security thread
Money order security thread

click to enlarge
Money order random visible fibers
Money order random visible fibers

click to enlarge
Image (left): Money order watermark
Image (middle): Money order security thread
Image (right): Money order random visible fibers
 
 

To ensure that money orders remain a safe and secure way to transfer funds, postal officials continue to add new security features to these documents. Postal employees are trained to look for a number of security features, such as watermarks, security threads and random visible fibers, on modern money orders to determine if they are authentic.

Money order images courtesy of the Ron J. Pry Historical Collection

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Acknowledgements

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