A member of Day Air Credit Union, who we’ll call Mike, contacted us recently about a potential scam he was encountering on Facebook Marketplace. Mike likes to list computers and gaming systems on sites like Facebook Marketplace, E-Bay, Let It Go, etc. Mike listed an expensive gaming console on Facebook Marketplace for $800. Shortly after listing the unit, Mike received an inquiry from a buyer who was eager to purchase and wanted to make arrangements to send an “official check” for payment. The buyer said to Mike, “I know you will not send the item until the check clears,” so Mike figured that everything was on the “up and up” with such an honest comment and he thought there’s no way an “official check” could be a problem, right? When the check arrived, the amount was for $50 more than the actual purchase price. When Mike contacted the buyer about the overpayment, the buyer apologized for the mistake and asked Mike if he could send back the overpayment by check to his shipping address.

Fortunately for Mike, he did not send the overpayment back or cash the check. The $850 “official check” was in fact counterfeit. The scammer was really just trying to get Mike to send $50 for the supposed overpayment. Many people fall victim to this overpayment scam because the amount the scammer asks for, $50 in this case, is a small amount compared to the actual price of the item. Many folks will just go ahead and send the payment without thinking anything of it. Then when then big check bounces, there is a real problem. We are glad that Mike reached out before doing anything with the check. He was able to report the transaction to the US Postal Inspection Service and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Overpayment scams are growing in popularity in the US.

There are other variations of these over payment scams. Always trust your instincts. If something seems “phishy” or “too good to be true”, it probably is. Below are a couple of numbers you can refer to if you are ever suspicious of a similar situation.

US Postal Inspection Service: 1-877-876-2455

FTC: 1-877-382-4357