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Overpayment scams

Overpayment scams work by getting you to ‘refund’ a scammer who has sent you a cheque for too much money for an item you are selling.

How this scam works

If you are selling something online or through classifieds ads, you may be targeted by a cheque overpayment scam.

The scammer will contact you, make you an offer—often quite generous—then send you a cheque as payment. The cheque will be for an amount that is greater than the agreed price.

Before the cheque has been cleared by your bank the scammer will contact you with an apology for the overpayment, offering a fake excuse. The scammer might tell you that the extra money was included to cover agent's fees or extra shipping costs. Or they may just say they simply made a mistake when writing the cheque.

The scammer will then ask you to refund the excess amount—usually through an online banking transfer, pre-loaded money card, or a wire transfer such as Western Union—before you discover that their cheque has bounced.

If you send any money, you will not get it back. If you have already sent the 'sold' item you will lose this as well. At the very least, the scammer will have wasted your time and prevented you from accepting any legitimate offers on your sale.


List of Scams

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    Notice of Parcel Claim from Levine & Sadler Limited (LSL) – Mail scam

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    American Property Bureau

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    Donna Maria (BPS)

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    FedEx Courier Services

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    EverMAS Tourism Group

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  • A pretty stone cottage set amidst lavender with a fountain out the front
    Fernandez Caspelli

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  • Sample scam lottery ticket with an illuminated manuscript style image of the nativity
    Global Shipping Services

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  • a tropical island in the middle of a light blue sea
    Holiday bookings

    This scam relies on banks taking time to clear an overseas cheque so that the provider is not alerted to the fraud until after they have “refunded” the difference.

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  • A big pile of Australian $100 notes
    Jim Owen Agency

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  • The Canadian flag
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    Shipping fee scam

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  • The yellow pages open
    Yellow Pages 21st Century Sweepstake

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