Businesses Owners Beware the Overpayment Scam

Scammers may target businesses with the classic overpayment scam, leaving owners to deal with lost funds and bounced checks.
March 20, 2017


Honolulu, HI – March 13, 2017: Hawaii’s Better Business Bureau warns business owners that the overpayment scam may be resurfacing. With the overpayment scam, scammers will play the role of consumer or buyer and target a business selling a product or service. The scammer will “accidentally” send a check for more than the cost of their bill. They will then ask the business to deposit the check and wire the overpayment back to them. 

A deposited check can take several days to clear. If a business goes ahead and wires the overpayment amount back before the check has cleared the business can be left responsible for the money withdrawn as well as any fees associated with a fake or bounced checked, should that occur.  

A common twist to this sort of scam is for the scammer to ask the business they are targeting to wire the money to a different “company” with whom they are also working. 

Tips for Businesses to protect themselves: 

  1. Avoid accepting any overpayments, especially from new clients or consumers, they have never dealt with and always waiting for payments to clear before providing a service
  2. Never agree to immediately wire money back to a customer or a third party in the event of an overpayment. Instead, wait for the payment to clear and issue a refund.
  3. If a business encounters the overpayment scam, they should report it using the BBB Scam Tracker.


ABOUT BBB: For more than 70 years, Hawaii’s Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.