Fake money order scam targets isle residents

Fake money order scam targets isle residents
Published: Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:51 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 26, 2013 at 1:50 AM HST
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Lisa Nakao
Lisa Nakao
Tom Simon
Tom Simon

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's one of the most common scams targeting Hawaii residents.

Each year, nearly 2,500 people in Hawaii ... receive bogus check offers.

The latest version of this scam -- involves something a lot of us often depend on: postal money orders.

According to Hawaii's Better Business Bureau, the alleged scammers are now mailing counterfeit postal money orders to unsuspecting isle residents. They then ask the people to cash the checks ... and forward a portion back to them via Western Union.

"Last year, we took in over 2,400 reports of this kind of offer in Hawaii. So we see that happen every day," said Lisa Nakao, the Better Business Bureau's director of operations.

Nakao says these scams tend to target the elderly and unsophisticated consumers.

They also prey on people looking for work ... by placing help wanted ads on Craig's list and Monster.com for work-at-home jobs or mystery shopper positions.

"Anybody who is desperate for work right now and has an opportunity to work at home often jumps at this ... only to find out it's scam and end up ruining their credit," said FBI Special Agent Tom Simon.

The Better Business Bureau says consumers should always be cautious if they receive a check and are asked to cash it immediately and wire back money. She also should be wary when receiving a check from someone they don't do business with.

"Any time you are given a check -- more than you are expecting -- and are asked to cash it you have to question it right there," Nakao said.

Experts say such scams will continue to proliferate as long as people are looking to make a quick buck.

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