In the check overpayment scam, the person you are doing business with sends you a check for more than the amount they owe you, and then instructs you to wire the balance back to them. Or, they send a check, and tell you to deposit it, keep part of the amount for your own compensation, and then wire the rest back for one reason or another. The results are the same: the check eventually bounces, and youre stuck, responsible for the full amount, including what you wired to the scammer.
Typical victims include persons selling something over the Internet, being paid to do work at home, or being sent advance winnings in a bogus sweepstakes.
The checks in this scam are fake, but they look real enough to fool most bankers.
The FTC offers the following tips for avoiding the check overpayment scam:
- Know who youre dealing with independently confirm your buyers name, street address, and telephone number.
- If youre selling something over the Internet, say no to a check for more than your selling price, no matter how tempting the plea or convincing the story.
- There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back.
More advice on how to be on guard against Internet fraud is available at OnGuardOnline.gov.
Consumers are asked to report check overpayment scams to their state Attorney General, the National Fraud Information Center/Internet Fraud Watch, a service of the National Consumers League at www.fraud.org or 1-800-876-7060, or the FTC at www.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP.