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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
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    2

    Default Gift Received As Money Order from an Almost Unknown Person

    I live in Florida. I received a postal money order for 3 thousand dollars as gift (“gift” is written in “memo” field of that money order). I believe, but I am not 100% sure, that he is the person whom I helped when he was in trouble while we both were visiting another country as tourists. A month after receiving the money order, when I tried to contact him to express thanks, he is unreachable. I sent a certified letter to the address given in that money order but it was bounced back. Can I safely deposit that money order in my bank account as if he sent a personal check, or will it create any trouble to me later on?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,941

    Default Re: Gift Received As Money Order from an Almost Unknown Person

    Quote Quoting wesman4
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    I live in Florida. I received a postal money order for 3 thousand dollars as gift (“gift” is written in “memo” field of that money order). I believe, but I am not 100% sure, that he is the person whom I helped when he was in trouble while we both were visiting another country as tourists. A month after receiving the money order, when I tried to contact him to express thanks, he is unreachable. I sent a certified letter to the address given in that money order but it was bounced back. Can I safely deposit that money order in my bank account as if he sent a personal check, or will it create any trouble to me later on?
    I suggest you take a photocopy (or a good photo of it with your cell phone) and then deposit the money order. If the check is good, you'll have $3,000 to use. If the check isn't good, the bank might charge you a fee for the bounced money order. But that shouldn't be a huge fee. and depositing it is the only way you'll really know if it's good. Don't rush out to spend it; the date the bank makes the funds available to you will almost certainly be earlier than when the money order actually "clears". Wait long enough, perhaps a month, just to be sure it doesn't bounce. Since you posted the question on the tax board I'll tell you that gifts are not taxable income. Having the copy of the check will help you should the IRS ever audit your return and ask about that. Depositing that one money order won't trigger the audit; you'd have to end up being pulled into an audit for something else.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Gift Received As Money Order from an Almost Unknown Person

    Thank you! Much appreciated! I will do as you said. Generally, what if I receive multiple or many money orders like this, although I am not absolutely expecting any more? How to identify the sender(s)?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,874

    Default Re: Gift Received As Money Order from an Almost Unknown Person

    Quote Quoting wesman4
    View Post
    Thank you! Much appreciated! I will do as you said. Generally, what if I receive multiple or many money orders like this, although I am not absolutely expecting any more? How to identify the sender(s)?
    If you start getting a bunch of mysterious money orders from unidentified strangers, you are either incredibly lucky or being targeted by one or more scammers.
    I am the Mouse Man

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,670

    Default Re: Gift Received As Money Order from an Almost Unknown Person

    As TM points out, there's no practical way for you to tell if it clears. The system is geared up to assume checks are good. It can take a substantial amount of time for YOUR bank to realize the check is no good and they will come after you for any money they paid out based on it. I'd give it a good month before you count on that money.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    862

    Default Re: Gift Received As Money Order from an Almost Unknown Person

    Quote Quoting wesman4
    View Post
    I received a postal money order for 3 thousand dollars...
    It’s important to note that the US Postal Service limits a single money order to only $1000. Also it’s important to note that $3000 is the limit for a purchaser not to be required to show id. Was the money order from a foreign country? If so then maybe you can try to contact whatever post office issued it. If not then USPS has instructions on how to verify a postal money order and you can also try to cash it at a post office.

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