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Fall Security Insights – Check Overpayment Scams


A check overpayment scam usually begins when a scam artist replies to an ad or posting listing an item you are selling. The “buyer” wants to pay by check and invents an excuse for writing the check for more than the purchase price.

The scammer asks the seller to wire back the difference after the check is deposited. Later, the check bounces, leaving you liable for the entire amount.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says the scam works because, though the checks are counterfeit, they are good enough to fool a teller, ATM scanner or mobile deposit app.

  • Know who you are dealing with – independently confirm your buyer’s name, street address, and telephone number.
  • Never accept a check for more than your selling price.
  • Never agree to wire back funds to a buyer.
  • Resist pressure to “act now.” If the buyer’s offer is good now, it should be good when the check clears.
  • If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local financial institution or one with a local office so you can visit that location to determine if the check is legitimate.
  • Consider an alternate method such as an online payment service. If a buyer wants to use a service you have not heard of, check first to confirm it is reliable.

Every Wednesday this Fall, the credit union will highlight a new scam to help you stay one step ahead of the Fraudsters.

Improve your financial health by regularly visiting the APCI Federal Credit Union Financial Resource Center



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