The Overpayment Scam and Fake Card Alerts!

June 10, 2014

Better Business Bureau Serving Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan, Inc.

The Overpayment Scam and

Fake Card Alerts!

A consumer runs an ad on the Internet service Craigs List. It says, "My mother is terminally ill and will soon move to a hospice. We have rooms of furniture we are selling." The ad has photos of the furniture and asks $1,700 for the whole house.

In response she gets a reply seeming to come from a doctor in Toronto who says she will soon be moving to your area and needs furniture. They agree on the price and the doctor sends a check...but instead of $1,700, she sends a check for $3,700.

The local seller asks why the check was for $2,000 too much. "It was all a mistake," the Toronto doctor explains. Her assistant was supposed to use the $ 2,000 for the moving company, but put it on the furniture check by mistake. "Just go ahead and deposit the check, send me back the $ 2,000, and you keep the $ 1,700" says the Toronto doctor.

Of course, the "Toronto doctor" doesn't exist. Nor does the $ 3,700! The local seller sends back $ 2,000, then learns a few days later that the check was counterfeit. She must now repay her local bank and she still hasn't sold the furniture.

"The Overpayment Scam" is extremely popular among crooks.
*** They want to buy your car, or dinette set, or wedding dress.
*** They want to rent your home and send you a deposit.
*** They want to hire you as their American agent and have you transfer funds for them

These crooks are always very convincing. And they send you checks for too much money
and ask that you send them back the difference. Never do it!

Alert! Your Credit/Debit Card

Hasn't Been Deactivated!

With many banks offering fraud alerts for credit and debit cards, it can be easy to fall for fake versions. Watch out for automated phone calls and text messages that claim your card has been deactivated. It's really an attempt to get you to share banking information.

How the Scam Works:

You get a text message or automated phone call claiming that your credit, debit or ATM card has been deactivated. The good news, it explains, is that reactivating your card will be easy. You just need to call a customer service number and confirm some information. One commonly received message reads: "Your ATM card has been put on hold. Call Customer Department now 1-205-XXX-XXXX."

You dial the number given, and you get an on-hold message. The message instructs you to enter your 16 digit credit card number. Don't do it. It's a scam! You will be giving your number to scammers which can open yourself up to credit card fraud.
The crooks use texting as well. If you get a TEXT message saying this, do NOT follow their "helpful" directions.

*** Instead, call your bank or check out their website. Use your bank's phone number on the back of your credit/debit card and call to confirm the status of your card. Don't call the phone number given in the text message.

*** Ignore instructions to text "STOP" or "NO" to prevent future texts. This is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.

*** Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will alert your cellphone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.

*** Don't trust your "caller ID". It is easy for scammers in other states or countries to "spoof" virtually any phone number on Caller ID.

*** Be familiar with your bank's communication methods: Did you sign up for text message alerts? Be aware of how your bank communicates with you, because anything out of the ordinary may be a scam.

Dick Eppstein, BBB

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