Watch Out For New Scam

by Jessica Cervantez

A growing number of fraudulent checks are being found all over East Texas. Now, authorities are also keeping an eye on a new scam -- fraudulent money orders.

Brittney Finegan cannot believe she is the victim of fraudulent money orders. She wanted to sell her horse online to raise money for college, but what she got from the buyer was $4,800 worth of fake money orders, worth nothing.

Finegan said, "I'm skeptical, anyway, about everything, so I took them to the post office to get them checked out. It took a long time, but they came up fake."

After the Lufkin post office discovered the money orders were fake, they sent them to Dallas, where a U.S. postal inspector and the FBI will look at them. This particular money order scam is fairly new.

Amanda McMurrey, a U.S. postal inspector who specifically investigates these types of cases, said, "The problem started about this time last year."

With computers and other advanced technology, it's becoming easier to make fake checks and money orders, but there are ways to avoid being scammed. Keep a close eye on the check indicators.

Finegan is glad she went with her instincts and checked out the money orders before she cashed them. Otherwise, she would be out a horse and $4,800.

Finegan said, "Don't take them to the bank or a check cashing place because, if you cash them, you'll be held liable for them."

It can be difficult to prosecute the cases because a lot of the fraudulent money orders are coming out of West Africa.

As for Brittney, she will be attending Texas A&M. She will be selling her horse at an auction.