Sunday, October 12, 2014

Beware Of Using Post Office Money Orders

From JOSEPH HIGHTOWER says U.S. postal investigators agree he got ripped off last year when he bought a $600 money order to pay his rent.
But no one in the Postal Service can tell Hightower when he'll be refunded the cash he paid to a postal worker at the 30th near Chestnut Street branch on Nov. 23.
"That's a lot of money," says Hightower, an occupational therapist who works with kids. The money order was apparently counterfeit. It bounced. "That made me short for Christmas. I've been trying to catch up."
When Hightower told me his story, I presumed he'd bought his money order from postal worker Felicia Townsend, who was charged last week with stealing $28,642.31 customers paid for money orders.
    But a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service told me Hightower was not among the 33 customers to whom Townsend sold money orders. Luckily, those buyers were able to have their orders cashed. The crime occurred when Townsend allegedly pocketed their payments then destroyed documentation that would've alerted the Postal Service that the orders had been sold.
So it appears Hightower is actually the victim of a new money-order scam, courtesy of a USPS employee.
Apparently, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night keeps some postal workers from padding their pockets.
When Hightower learned his money order had bounced, he was stunned. He's been using Postal Service money orders for years because "everyone accepts them. You know they're good."
He alerted three levels of managers and two postal inspectors to his problem. All assured him his complaint was legit.
In fact, he says, he was told at least 100 customers, whose losses totaled more than $100,000, had lodged similar complaints. 
So, a money order bought at a U.S. Post Office bounces and the USPS admits there was a crime committed but won't reimburse the buyer of the money order.
Yeah, I'll buy my money orders at Wal-Mart.

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