People selling items such as cars, motorcycles, boats, computer equipment, or even animals via the Internet should be aware of a money-laundering scam that is bilking victims out of thousands of dollars.
Typically, an overpayment scam works like this:
- A seller places an Internet advertisement for an item with a high price tag.
- Later, the seller receives a generous offer for the item, usually via email.
- The seller agrees on the price, and, often, also agrees to the proviso that he or she refuses any other offers for the item.
- The scammers then send a cheque or money order for the item or instead transfer the funds directly to the seller’s bank account. However, the amount sent will be for substantially more than the specified selling price.
- The scammers invent some excuse for this overpayment and ask that the balance be electronically transferred to a specified bank account. For example, they may claim that the extra funds are to pay the fees of an agent who is handling the sale or to cover shipping costs. Or, they may claim that an error was made and ask the seller to send back the extra amount via a wire transfer.
- The seller dutifully transfers the amount as requested.
- Later, the seller finds that his or her bank has dishonoured the cheque or money order. In some cases, the bank may actually have cleared the funds, but discovers later that the check or money order is a forgery or was stolen. Or the funds may have been transferred from a bank account compromised via a phishing scam or malware attack.
- Thus the seller has been bilked out of a substantial amount, with little chance of recovering the money. Furthermore, the item remains unsold and the seller may have rejected legitimate offers in the mean time.
In a very similar type of scam, the criminals offer victims a ‘job’ and ask them to wire funds after deducting their agreed upon ‘wages’.
To protect yourself against this sort of scam, never agree to a deal in which the payer wishes to issue an amount for more than the specified price and expects you to reimburse the balance. The scammers use a variety of excuses to explain the overpayment, but any such excuse should be treated with the utmost suspicion.
Thanks for your mail,I am really interested in the (plymouth),Fine i will pay $200 for it,Please i will want to indicate my mode of payment to you since i am not in the United States at the moment and there is a Company in the United States that is indebted to me in the amount of $3,500,So i will want to really seek your Assistance at this point,That i will want you to forward to me the the following informations below that i will need to forward to the Company indebted to me so that they can make out the payment directly to you and after you have cashed it in your bank,You will have the excess amount on the payment sent to my International Shipping agent via WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER ,All charges you are to pay at the western union office when sending the excess amount of $3,300 should be deducted from my balance,So you don’t have to bother yourself about that, The reason for this is that,The Company indebted to me say they cannot make out the payment in two installment except once, And since i am purchasing your (plymouth) from you at this time,I will want to really be sure that my funds will be safe in your hands as i will want to entrust my money unto your care,So inorder for us to complete the purchase of the (plymouth) now,I will want you to get back to me with the following informations inorder for me to forward it to the Company indebted to me inorder for them to make out the payment in your name and send it to you ithout any furtherdelay,
The following informations that i will require from you are as follows,
1] YOUR FULL NAME TO BE WRITTEN ON THE CHECK,
2] YOUR DIRECT HOUSE ADDRESS WHERE YOU WILL WANT THE PAYMENT TO BE SENT TO,
3] YOUR DIRECT CELL PHONE NUMBER THAT YOU CAN BE REACHED AT ANYTIME OF THE DAY SO THAT I CAN GIVE YOU A CALL SO THAT I CAN EXPLAIN TO YOU BETTER,
Upon receipt of this informations i have just requested from you,I will immediately forward it to the Company indebted to me to make out the payment in your name and send it to you immediately,I will be awaiting your response as soon as you get this mail,Do confirm this mail and get back to me as soon as possible.