Scam Alert: Online Overpayment

Scam Alert: Online Overpayment

The "overpayment scam" targets people selling items online, when scammers send you a check for more than your asking price and tell you to wire them the difference.

The problem is, scammers use fraudulent checks that look so real, you can access the funds before the bank may notice. Then, you are responsible for paying back those funds.

"People who have received fake checks, we hear from them daily, but typically once you wire that money, it's going outside the United States, so there is nothing that can be done," said President of the Better Business Bureau of North Central Texas Monica Horton.

Horton said the BBB stopped collecting fraudulent checks, used in similar scams, once they reached $500,000.

Burkburnett resident Robert Hilbus received two of these fake checks, when his step-son was selling his guitar online. Fortunately, he noticed the checks were for a lot more money than his step-son was asking for, so he did some digging.

Hilbus called the companies listed on the check and the envelope, which were different companies and each in different states. Although he verified that they were legitimate companies, they had no idea about the checks and said the people who supposedly signed them, did not work there.

"I talked to the lady over security and they wanted the check number... I gave it to them and they found out it was a fraud check," said Hilbus. The banks were also valid and the routing numbers correct, but the account numbers were made up.

"The bank said that it could have been deposited and he could have drawn off of it, it would have credited to his account, but anything he used he would have been held liable for, he would have had to pay it back," said Hilbus.

Hilbus thankfully never sent the money to the scammer, but Horton said many others have been more easily fooled.

"Unfortunately, with technology these days, it is very easy to  print out checks that look authentic," said Horton. "Even, initially, it may pass at the bank and take quite some time for them to discover that it's a fraudulent check."