The New Fake Check\u2026 Online fraudsters, who have been passing fake checks for years, are turning to a new form of payment - United States postal money orders - to help them defraud their victims. According to a story in The New York Times, more than 3,700 counterfeit postal money orders were intercepted by the FBI and U.S. Postal Service between October and December - exceeding the total for the previous 12 months. Since October, law enforcement has arrested 160 individuals in cases where individuals knowingly received -- or tried to cash -- fraudulent money orders. The theft is estimated to run into the millions of dollars, the Times reports. It works like this: Fraudsters make contact with their victim, usually through e-mail. They then ask for merchandise to be sent to them in exchange for the postal money order. The thieves get the merchandise and the victim is left with a bogus money order. Experts say the fraud is significant because the money orders are hard to counterfeit. In order to verify the authenticity of a postal money order, hold it up to the light and check the watermark, which should reveal an image of Benjamin Franklin. There should also be a microfiber strip that runs alongside the watermark with the letters USPS. The USPS also offers other tips for identifying counterfeit postal money orders.