Why Would You Overpay? Oh, it’s a Scam

The “overpayment” scam is back and it doesn’t discriminate…this affects consumers, businesses and also nonprofits.

This classic scam has been around for a while. A scammer sends a check or PayPal wire to you, but then says that they “overpaid.” They then ask you to re-send or re-wire the overpayment to another account, usually giving them access to your bank information and more. From there, the scammers can take all of your money, not just the amount you “sent back.”

BBB offers the following advice to avoid an overpayment scam:

  • Know who you’re dealing with. In any transaction, confirm the buyer/seller/donor name, street address and telephone number.
  • Don’t wire. Never under any circumstances wire funds back to the person, a legitimate buyer/seller/donor will not insist upon this type of request.
  • Never assume that a check is legitimate, even if it’s a cashier’s check. It may take weeks for a financial institution to learn that it is counterfeit.
  • Never accept payment for more than the purchase price of a product or service.
  • Keep in mind, you are the party who is ultimately liable to your financial institution. Verify all checks, as well as certified checks, with the issuing financial institution.

BBB urges any consumer, business or nonprofit that receives such emails not to respond or engage in any way. If you receive a check, do not deposit it and report your experience to your BBB.

 

Love is in the Air for Scammers, Too

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and that means the chocolate, cards, flowers, diamonds are all on sale right now. Scammers realize this too…so before you run off to the store to purchase a diamond that’s somehow 50% off or the flowers online that look gorgeous for only $20, do some research.

In 2015, the BBB reports that consumers spent nearly $19 billion dollars on gifts for their loved ones for Valentine’s Day, primarily flowers, and the number one complaint has to do with quality of the delivery of flowers.

The closer you get to the holiday, the lower the fresh inventory is going to be for flowers. Every year, the BBB receives complaints from consumers that the flowers they purchased were DOA (dead on arrival), or the arrangement never arrived. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) even has a name for unscrupulous online florists – petal pushers. What a great pun, right?

What should you do instead? Research a local flower shop and go there. Not only are you supporting your community by purchasing from a local merchant, but you will also be able to create your own arrangement and know that the flowers are quality.
It is pretty difficult to be scammed by chocolate, but again, buy at your local grocery or a local candy shop, you can even taste-test before you buy sometimes while you’re there!

Diamonds and jewelry are very popular around this time—it is the season for love and we are actually in the middle of proposal season as well. Do your homework on those jewelry stores before purchasing. No one likes to pay thousands of dollars on a fake diamond!

Check us out on KDVR-Fox31 Denver for more tips to stay safe:

Top Ways of How Scammers Get to You

BBB has put together a comprehensive list of the top ways scammers contact consumers. All data was comprised from the new free, online tool Scam Tracker that BBB launched a few months ago.

The Top 5 sound all too familiar…the most used avenues in which we always warn consumers to be safe around when giving out personal information.

Phone—56%

  • Details: Calls soliciting personal information…your friend is trapped in a foreign country, money needed to deliver a package to your house, IRS tax scam—authorities coming to your house unless you pay, people posing as law enforcement, charities or other businesses.
  • What to Do: Take the phone number down and hang up, do not give any money or personal information. Call your phone provider and get put on a no-call list.

Email—15%

  • Details: Fake shipping notifications or “You Won a New Car!” a fake medical bill, etc…
  • What to Do: Unsubscribe and report as spam

Website—7%

  • Details: Popups and cookies in your browser
  • What to Do: Empty your cookies, block sites and popups, computer security settings

Facebook—3%

  • Details: Too good to be true scams, these are popular items, such as weight loss products, clothing, cruises, etc. Will usually say that one of your friends passed it along to you…
  • What to Do: Notify Facebook, unfollow or ask the social media engine to hide such posts from your Timeline.

Text Message—3%

  • Details: Not really a big one, but sometimes scammers will get reach of your cell number and text you…
  • What to Do: Again, you can block this number and report it to your cellular provider.

Others (under 3%)…Craigslist, in-person solicitations and online messages.

Scam Tracker is free and on our website, bbb.org. Anyone can use it to research if there is a scam going on in their area, how much money could have been lost and other specific details from fellow consumers. Scam Tracker is a heat-map for all of both the United States and Canada.

 

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Top 10 Scams of 2015…All but the Kitchen Sink!

It’s officially 2016 and as we begin the new year, we look back to the Top 10 Scams of 2015. Gone are the days of bait-and-switch scams and now we have scams ranging from Facebook prizes, free puppies with purchase and winning a new car without ever entering the contest. What?! We all love free puppies, but with the evolution of technology, scammers are evolving with the times as well and are targeting you through the below avenues, so be on the lookout!

Top 10 Scams of 2015