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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — Officials here say Marines and other servicemembers have been approached via e-mail by thieves attempting to steal cash in a scam involving fake U.S. Postal Service money orders.

The Iwakuni base received a memorandum last week from U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters in Quantico, Va., warning of the con.

“Often, victims are contacted by e-mail, then they’re tricked into accepting fake money orders worth several thousand dollars as payment for items the victims are selling, sometimes on eBay,” Lt. Col. Christopher B. Rydelek of the Staff Judge Advocate office stated in the memo.

Other victims are “conned into cashing money orders,” Rydelek said. “In return, victims of the scam are told they can keep a percentage for their efforts on behalf of the thieves.”

Iwakuni personnel have received such e-mails, which officials “announce, monitor and collect information on,” said base spokesman Maj. Stewart Upton. No one there has reported being taken by the scam, he added.

The fake money orders scammers use have been difficult to distinguish from the real thing, Rydelek stated. But some characteristics are hard to counterfeit, such as a watermark on genuine U.S. postal money orders that reveal the image of Benjamin Franklin when held in front of a light.

For more information, call Iwakuni’s legal assistance office at DSN 253-5591 or e-mail hqmclegal@hqmc.usmc.mil.

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