Overpayment scam

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Video transcript: Overpayment scam (Word, 26KB)

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How the scam works

The scammer:

  1. contacts you about buying your goods or services
  2. pays you by cheque, money order or credit card for far more than the agreed price
  3. then asks you to refund the overpayment. They may ask you to return the money to a different bank account or credit card, or to their shipping company.

The scammer hopes you will transfer the money before noticing that their cheque has bounced or that their money order or credit card is phoney.

In another form of this scam, they ask you to send money to cover taxes or transport fees.

If you use an online auction site such as eBay to buy items for your business, follow the website’s rules and policies. Beware of any offer that seems too good to be true, or if the buyer asks you to work outside of the website’s rules.

Some scammers set up fake websites for online payments. For more information, visit the Cheque overpayment scam page on the Scamwatch website.

Protect your business:

  • Make sure money has cleared in your bank account before issuing any refunds or sending products.
  • Be wary of customers from overseas with urgent orders, especially if your product is available in their country. 
  • Be suspicious of complicated or unlikely orders, especially if several credit cards are used.