How to stop a lost money order, friends?
June 18, 2007 3:07 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine accidentally lost a money order that was her entire rent. It was in her purse early in the day, missing later. The coupon/receipt was still attached and it wasn't made out. She got it from her bank, drawing the funds from her account. The question is: can she cancel the money order without the coupon, like a stop payment on a check? Or is she totally screwed?

And if so, what's the procedure? She's not a girl of means, so this is rather important if it's possible. Thanks Mefi!
posted by mattoly to Work & Money (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I wish I had more to offer, but I think that your friend should file a police report ASAP.
posted by kitty teeth at 3:10 PM on June 18, 2007

If it was purchased from her bank it should be a cashier's check or official check. Most (if not all) banks keep their own record of the negotiable items they sell, and it should have a unique identifying number. I would go to the local branch where she purchased it with any relevant identifying information or any other possible receipt she may have and ask them to place a stop payment on the item right away. Note: this will probably take a fair amount of time and probably a small fee.

Good luck!
posted by Asherah at 3:17 PM on June 18, 2007

She should be OK since she purchased it from her bank. I had to find a few old rent check reciepts that way and All the information I had was the 2 day window for 2 seperate months i bought them. I was able to get copies of both. I would assume they have a way to stop payment on those too, but best bet is to return to the bank of origin.
posted by crewshell at 3:19 PM on June 18, 2007

At my bank we charge $20 to cancel a cashier's check, I believe. But isn't this a question your friend should just ask her bank?
posted by buriednexttoyou at 3:20 PM on June 18, 2007

Without the information on the receipt, it's highly unlikely that she'll be able to stop payment on it and recover her funds. There's nothing identifying the money order.
posted by Netzapper at 3:29 PM on June 18, 2007

Actually, I'm wrong. Google ("stop payment money order") shows that since it was issued by her bank, she may have hope.
posted by Netzapper at 3:30 PM on June 18, 2007

I had a $400 money order stolen once. My bank told me that since I'd not filled out the "payable to" immediately (a mistake I've never repeated, be certain!), the money order was a bearer item and there was nothing they could do (including putting a stop-payment on).

The one thing they were able to do was to send me a copy of the endorsed side when it finally came through their system, which I sent in for the police report. But, they never got anywhere with it and I never got the money back. The police said afterward that if I'd gotten to the right person at the issuing bank faster, they could have possibly flagged it and then caught the person who cashed it.

This was over ten years ago and I would guess banks might have different options now, but it didn't end well for me.

I would recommend call bank right away, and then follow their instructions.
posted by pineapple at 3:45 PM on June 18, 2007

The bank should be able to figure out what money order was issued to her (one hopes) and in theory they should be able to help her with it. She may have to fill out an affidavit or something - actually I think we used to call it a stop payment with indemnity - because stopping payment on a cashier's check / money order is a Big Deal. Since this was done at a branch, you might have to go back to that branch, but calling customer service won't hurt -- but if she can go to her branch now, then GO. Do not wait.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:59 PM on June 18, 2007

Why doesn't your friend have a checking account? If this was a personal check everything would be fine, cancelled or not. If a checking account is truly beyond her means, next time she must follow procedure on the money order. Most places won't even give it to you until you fill it out, so bad on her bank here. OK, life lesson learned.

Contact the bank because they are the only ones who can tell you whether this check is cancellable even though it is not filled out. I have a feeling you won't like the answer, but ask the bank.
posted by caddis at 6:11 PM on June 18, 2007

Contact the bank, but her options may be time-limited. Sometimes they can stop payment on it, or flag it for non-payment, but I'm not sure how they would accomplish it.

It's probably a situation that's happened before, but her options may diminish substantially if and when someone makes the check out and deposits it.

And definitely file a police report ASAP with whatever information she can get from the bank.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:41 PM on June 18, 2007

Caddis, the OP's friend may be required, as are we, to pay rent with a cashier's check, rather than a personal check. Just sayin'.... :)
posted by Lynsey at 10:59 PM on June 18, 2007

Caddis...Seriously? Many people with checking accounts submit rent payments via cashier's check/money order for various justifiable reasons...(they have ridiculous landlords who hold checks for several months, etc.)
posted by Asherah at 11:31 PM on June 18, 2007

An article in the local paper this week had a tip for lost money orders....

• Q: I ordered a sword online from Medieval Weapon Art for $132.82 and paid by money order. When it didn't arrive, I wrote to ask about my order; the company said it had never received my payment.

I called Western Union and confirmed that the money order had been cashed on May 11.

What do I do?

• A: Your detective mission won't be simple; here's what Western Union representative Kristin Kelly told Action Line:

To determine who cashed your money order, you need to send the filled-out, original money order receipt (remember to keep a copy for yourself), along with a check for $15, a nonrefundable fee, to Integrated Payment Systems, P.O. Box 7030, Englewood, Colo. 80155. Western Union will then send you a photocopy, front and back, of the cashed money order. The copy would have the signature or the business number of the person or entity that cashed the money order, as well as a locator number of where it was cashed. This takes up to 30 days (seriously).

If the money order was cashed by someone other than the intended party (which Medieval says must be the case), you will need to file a forgery claim with Western Union by calling, toll-free, 800-999-9660. It will then send you and Medieval affidavits; (the company must certify that it didn't cash the money order.) Those should be sent to Western Union, which will forward them to the bank that cashed the money order. The bank will determine whether the document was forged; if deemed so, it will return your money.
posted by MrBCID at 6:30 AM on June 24, 2007

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