Money Laundering Through Money Orders

Money Laundering Through Money Orders

#AML #Regulation #MoneyLaundering

date icon
NOVEMBER 2, 2022
read time icon
7 Minutes

When it comes to laundering money, many people think of huge schemes with complex financial transactions. But sometimes, the simplest methods are the most effective – like using money orders. In this blog, we'll go over how money laundering through money orders works, and what you need to watch out for. Keep reading below to learn more!

What is a money order?

Money laundering is the process of concealing the origins of illegal money.  We know that there are three stages of money laundering and that there are many methods and loopholes criminals take advantage of to facilitate each stage. One tactic is the use of money orders.

A money order is a document, usually issued by a bank or financial institution, that allows the recipient to receive a specified amount of money. Money orders are often used for financial transactions where cash isn't an option, such as when sending money to someone who doesn't have a bank account.

Unfortunately, money orders can also be used by criminals to launder dirty money. This is because money orders can be easily purchased with cash, and they're often not subjected to the same scrutiny as bank accounts or other financial transactions. As a result, criminals can use money orders to “clean” up their dirty money, making it appear as though it came from a legitimate source.

How do criminals use money orders to launder money?

Criminals are always looking for new ways to launder their dirty money, and money orders have become a popular choice in recent years. Money orders can be purchased at many retailers, and they can be used to send money through the mail or to make payments without using a bank account.  

Here's how it works: the criminal first obtains cash through illegal means such as drug trafficking or embezzlement. They then purchase the money order from providers. Finally, they deposit the money order into a legitimate bank account and use the funds for legal purposes such as paying bills or investing in property.  

As you can imagine, money orders offer an easy way to avoid leaving a paper trail of any unlawful financial transactions. In order prevent money this and track down those who partake in it, organisations and reporting entities need to implement robust Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.

Statistics highlighting how much money is being laundered through money orders

While the exact amount of money laundering that takes place through money orders is difficult to quantify, this method is a popular choice for those looking to clean dirty money.  

Bank accounts can be easily traced, making them a less attractive option for criminals. Money orders, on the other hand, are much harder to track. Financial transactions involving money orders leave behind few paper trails, making them the perfect way to move large sums of dirty money around without detection.  

While some may argue that money laundering through money orders isn't a huge problem, the fact is that it is a significant source of income for organised crime groups. In fact, it's estimated that billions of dollars are laundered through money orders every year. So next time you're filling out a money order, just remember you could be helping to finance some shady business.

Which industries does money laundering through money orders impact?

The sectors most impacted by money laundering through money orders are typically those that involve large sums of money, with banking and finance taking the top spot as the most affected industry.  

This is because bank accounts are often used to receive and send money orders. As a result, banks must carefully monitor all financial transactions involving money orders to detect and prevent illicit activity. This can be difficult to do, as many legitimate businesses also use money orders. For this reason, it is essential for banks to build trust with their clients by implementing strong compliance programs.

Other sectors that need to be on high alert are real estate, luxury goods, investment businesses, and company services. As trust is essential in these industries, any hint of money laundering can damage reputations and jeopardise business dealings.

How can money laundering through money orders be prevented?

It is important to only purchase money orders from trusted sources and to also check money orders thoroughly before purchasing. Money orders that are obtained from questionable sources or are tampered may be more likely to be used for criminal activity.  

When sending or receiving a money order, be sure to verify the identity of the sender or recipient. Money orders should only be used with people who are trusted, and all transactions should be carefully documented. Money laundering often involves using false identities, so verifying the trustworthiness of the person you are dealing with can help to prevent this type of criminal activity.  

If you suspect that a money order might be being used for money laundering, you can report it to the authorities. Finally, it is critical for organisations and reporting entities to comply with AML/CTF regulations and one way they can do this is through intelligent KYC screening solutions such as MemberCheck. By taking these precautions, you can help to prevent money laundering and create trusted relationships with your customers.

How can MemberCheck help?

MemberCheck is an AML/CTF risk and compliance solution that can help organisations prevent money laundering through money orders.  

MemberCheck scans the name on the money order against a database of potential criminals, PEPs, SIPs, and RCAs. If the name matches one on the list, the transaction is flagged for further scrutiny. In this way, MemberCheck helps to create a barrier to money launderers who are looking for a quick and easy way to move dirty money through money orders. By making it more difficult for criminals to use money orders, MemberCheck helps to create a safer and more trusted financial system.


So, there you have it – an introduction to money laundering through money orders. Money orders are a popular payment method, but they can also be exploited. By understanding how money laundering through money orders works, you can help prevent it from happening.  

MemberCheck offers a seamless compliance solution that can help identify, monitor, and flag suspicious activity with money orders. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help you build trusted interactions.

Related articles

Priorities for the financial action task Force under the Singapore presidency

July 15, 2022
3 Minutes
#Singapore #FATF #AML #CTF

The Singapore Presidency of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) from 2022 to 2024 intends to enhance...

Learn More

Bank Secrecy Act: What Is It?

July 11, 2022
4 Minutes

The process of money laundering attempts to release criminally based funds into the legal financial system...

Learn More