Overpayment Scams:

Classic overpayment scams and new deceptive twists: Internet ScamBusters #139

Internet ScamBusters™

The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud

By Audri and Jim Lanford

Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford

All rights reserved.

Issue #139

Hi Everyone,

Today we’ll talk about some new, very deceptive twists to the overpayment scam

(which has become one of the biggest scams). We want you to understand the principles

behind the overpayment scam so you don’t get taken… no matter what specifics

and details you encounter.

Before we get started, we wanted to tell you about the brand new free

BBQ newsletter, Barbeque Bob’s Taste-Tingling Tips, written by our

associate, "Barbeque Bob." You can read more about it at the end of

the newsletter, or check it out now.

Let’s get started…

New Overpayment Scams

We’ve written about the overpayment scam before, since it is one of the most popular

scams making the rounds. In fact, this made #4 on our list of the Top 10 hoaxes

in history.

Most versions of this scam involve someone sending you a check or money order

for more than the price of something you are selling, and you get to keep the

difference as a commission (or you need to send them back some amount for some


The most common version involves selling your car, truck or other vehicle. For

example, you list a car or other large ticket item for sale. A scammer, who may

or may not actually be from overseas, claims he wants to buy it — often for more

than you are asking.

The scammer sends you a money order for more than the amount of their purchase

(for some bogus reason), and you are supposed to send them back all or most of

the difference. (The "reason" is often related to international fees

to ship the car or item overseas.)

Although the money orders look real (and are usually accepted as legitimate by

banks), they are actually fake. So you lose the difference you’ve sent them in

cash (after you deposited their money order in your bank account and it supposedly

cleared), as well as the item you shipped them.

Often, these scammers want to use a specific (but in fact bogus) escrow company

(and they give you a long explanation of why it’s so important to use this escrow

company). This too is a scam.

In a previous issue of ScamBusters, we wrote: We know of NO legitimate international

car offers — regardless of whether you’re buying or selling a car. We still believe

this is true — the exceptions are so miniscule that they are not worth mentioning.

Before we talk about the new twists, let’s review the principles behind the overpayment


– It doesn’t matter *what* is being sold: scammers have used the overpayment scam

for cars, trucks, ATVs, horses, tractors, wedding dresses, etc.

– It doesn’t matter *why* you are supposed to send them back money: scammers give

hundreds of different excuses that seem plausible at first blush.

– It doesn’t matter why you are supposed to use a specific escrow company: always

use the escrow company you select, not the one selected by the other party.

OK, now let’s talk about the new variants. These new overpayment scams are a bit

different, and they are really making the rounds.

The biggest difference from classic overpayment scams is that you are offered

a job instead of selling something.

If you post your resume on one of the legitimate online employment sites such

as monster.com or careerbuilder.com, you may well receive this newer overpayment


Here’s how it works: You receive what is supposed to be a job offer to become

a "financial representative" of an international company.

You are told that this company has problems accepting money from US customers

and is looking for financial representatives to handle the payments.

You are usually offered 5% to 15% to handle the transactions.

You can see two very different example emails of how this financial

representative scam works here.

If you apply and give them your personal information, there are several ways you

can get scammed:

– You may experience identity theft.

– They may attempt to steal money directly from your bank account.

– You may receive bogus payments that you then deposit into your bank account,

and then send them 85% to 95% of the money, which, of course, you lose.

Action: Avoid all these overpayment scams. Never agree to handle financial transactions

for people you don’t know or who offer you a job. Never accept money orders and

turn around and send part of the money to anyone, no matter what the reason.

Time to close. Have a great week.