Accepting Money Orders


How to spot a fake money order and what to do if you suspect fraud.

Image of a postal money order, with numbered callouts 1 through 4 used to demonstrate ways to spot a fake or fraudulent money order.

What are some initial clues?

  • If the denomination is discolored, it may have been erased (indicating fraud). (See 3.)
  • The dollar amount should be imprinted twice. (See 4.)
  • Maximum value for domestic money orders is $1,000.
  • Maximum value for international money orders is $700 ($500 for El Salvador and Guyana).Which countries?

What else should you look for?

Hold the money order up to the light. You should see:

  • Ben Franklin watermarks repeated on the left side (top to bottom). (See 1.)
  • A vertical, multicolored thread that weaves in and out of the paper to the right of the Franklin watermark. In the light, the thread appears continuous with alternating horizontal dark and light bars behind it and the letters “USPS” repeating backward and forward throughout the thread. (See 2.)

What action should you take?

Verify - Call the money order verification system at 866-459-7822.

Report - If you suspect fraud, call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service® at 877-876-2455 (Follow the prompts).

Found a lost or stolen money order?

First, see if your money order number turns up when you search the Missing Money Order List. If you don’t find it, call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.

Search the Missing Money Orders List ›

Have questions?

Send an email to Money Order Inquiries ›