Houstonians find fake money orders in packages

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HOUSTON - Some Houstonians have received Priority Mail packages from companies they've never heard of, and the packages contain money orders promising quick cash for little work, investigators said.

The $935 postal money orders come with a straightforward offer from a company called the Peach Audit group. The sender asks the recipient to cash the money order, wire some of that money to an address in Boston and then keep the rest of the cash. All the recipient has to do is evaluate the person completing the wire transfer.

The postal money order looks real with watermarks and official stamps. Local 2 Investigates snapped a photo of one and sent it to U.S. postal inspectors and found out that it was counterfeit.

"Somebody has Picasso-level skill, they truly do," said Dan Parsons with the Better Business Bureau.

Parsons is a veteran of spotting bogus offers, but he said he was surprised at the level of detail in the fake money order.

"I don't think any of my highly-trained investigators that see this everyday could know," Parsons said.

The letter that comes with the money order states the company is based in the Philippines, but it lists a telephone number in California. Local 2 Investigates called that number and got a message saying, "The Magic Jack customer you have called is unavailable to take your call. Please leave a message after the tone."

Parsons said he was worried that people may fall for the scam, especially in a tough economy.

"Everyone wants to be a believer. Our guard has gone way down. You got people sitting at home in their bath robes who want to work," Parsons said.

Anyone who gets a similar package should notify the U.S. Postal Service immediately.

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