Guarding Against Overpayment Scams

Overpayment scams often occur when an individual lists an item for sale on a website such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Although these are legitimate sites to sell merchandise, fraudsters often use these sites to commit fraud.

  • If the buyer of your sale item(s) sends you a payment, either by check, money order, or another form of payment that is greater than your asking price and states they overpaid “accidentally”, do not continue with the sale.
  • If instructed by the buyer of your sale item(s) to purchase a money order, iTunes gift cards or Bitcoin, to wire money through a financial institution or money service company, to send funds via Cash App, Venmo or other money transfer apps, or to mail cash to return the “overpayment” do not do it.
  • If you receive a check or money order in the mail for the sale of items listed online, bring it to the bank for verification before attempting to cash or deposit.
  • If instructed to “keep the change” on an overpayment, do not do it.
  • If the buyer states you were overpaid to compensate you for your time, to cover shipping costs not previously agreed upon, or to pay taxes, do not continue with the sale.
  • Look for typos, grammatical errors such as misuse of punctuation and capitalization and spelling, mismatched names or invalid banking information on any checks received.
  • Do not deposit a check using mobile deposit if it was mailed to you unexpectedly, a request to return a portion of the funds was made, or the check has a stamped endorsement on the back. Bring these to the bank for verification.
  • Keeping any form of overpayment, or sending a portion of the funds using any of the methods listed above, may result in you being held responsible for repayment of all funds spent if the transaction is deemed fraudulent.

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