New Twist On Old Fraud Scheme

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It's a new twist on an old scheme that is compromising one of the most trusted forms of payment in the world: The U.S. Postal Service money order.

Kevin McCrary learned the hard way that love can leave you not only with a broken heart, but broke.

The 56-year-old met someone online claiming to be a woman calling herself Ogisi Douglas.

"She was extremely friendly and personable and seemed reasonably intelligent," says McCrary.

As CBS News Correspondent Trish Regan

, she was intelligent enough to swindle McCrary out of nearly $2,000.

Douglas sent McCrary two $950 money orders so he could buy a laptop computer for her.

"I went up to the bank teller window and handed them the checks, and they took them," he says.

But, a month later, Chase notified him the money orders were counterfeit and deducted the $1,900 from his account even though they could have been on the lookout.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service had already issued a warning about counterfeiting months earlier, but Chase didn't alert its tellers until March.

"We started noticing an issue developing probably (around) November, December of last year," says Paul Krenn of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Krenn says McCrary's story is hardly unique.

More than 3,700 counterfeit postal money orders, estimated to be worth millions, were intercepted in the last three months of 2004. This year, the postal service expects the number to be considerably higher.

"It's coming from an area (in) West Africa, but also Eastern European countries as well," says Krenn.

Just like currency, every postal money order has security features, like the letters USPS on the vertical stripe. Also, if you hold one up to the light, you can clearly see a watermark of Benjamin Franklin in the oval. As of now, counterfeiters have not been able to copy these safeguards.

McCrary says, for a jaded New Yorker, he was surprisingly gullible.

The woman told him he was the one who "sounded the best, sounded patient and free-spirited." So he was the one targeted.

"I'm the one," says McCrary. "I'm her mark, her mark for today."

But he's learned not to trust strangers or even proven commodities, like the much-revered U.S. money order.