Search Overpayment/Credit Card Scam Emails
These scammers tend to target individuals or businesses with products to sell, but they may mass-email anyone in the hopes that someone will respond to their request. There are a couple of different versions to this scam, but they all end the same.
The overpayment scammers typically will email you (or contact you through the site you may have advertised an item for sale) offering to buy your item. They tend to be generic with their initial contact, something like "I would like to buy your product" but some will copy/paste the entire title of your ad when contacting you. They will tell you the price is fine with them and then they may give you a story about who they are or why they need you to sell them the item. They usually tell you to end your ad or listing as well.
After they finish their "negotiating" with you they tell you that they will have their agent or some one mail you a check for the item. When you receive the check, it is usually for an amount well over your asking price. When you ask them why it's that amount they will give you some sort of story about how their agent was suppose to mail you a check for the item and then another check to some one else for something else but that the agent must have messed up. Then, the scammer tells you to go to your bank, cash the check, keep the amount for your item (plus a little more for your troubles) and then send the rest of it to the other person. They will tell you to send it through Western Union or Moneygram. Don't do it! The check will turn out to be fake and when the bank reverses the check, YOU will be responsible for the money.
This scam has also been used on potential Au Pairs, Tutors and other in-home service providers where they will give a long story about why your services are needed. They will hire you sight unseen and then the rest of the scam works the same where they will send you a check to prepay you for services. Then when you get the check, they will tell you that the rest of the money was meant for someone else. Again, the check is fake and when your bank returns the check, you are responsible for the money.
Another version of the scam involves credit cards and the scammer will usually email a general request to order items and will request an invoice. They will ask if you accept credit cards and if you do, they will place a large order with you and then give you their credit card number, which is almost always a stolen card. Sometimes they will have you contact their own "shipping company" which is just another scammer, and have you add the "shipping fees" to your invoice. Then, they will have you charge the card for the whole amount, and then send the "shipping fees" to the other scammer. There is no shipping company in that case, they just wanted you to launder their money for them. In other cases, instead of a shipping company they may just ask you to add additional charges to the card and then send them the extra money so that they can pay the shipping company. Again, there is no shipping company, they just wanted the money from the credit card.
In any of the overpayment cases, the checks are always fake and the credit cards are 99% of the time stolen, and you will be the innocent victim picking up the pieces after the bank returns the check or the credit card company does a charge back.
The best way you can protect yourself from scams like these is to:
1) Steer clear of emails that sound suspicious or are too good to be true
2) Do an internet search for the email address the sender is using. Many times it will more than likely appear on sites that report scams
3) NEVER give your bank details to someone you don't know, especially if you "met" them through uninvited emails and especially if they ask you to email your information to them. Legitimate companies, banks, lawyers and other professionals would NEVER do this.
4) NEVER send money to someone you don't know, especially if they ask you to send the money to another person in another country (Africa should sound the alarm!) Legitimate companies, banks, lawyers and other professionals would NEVER do this. Legitimate companies will also NEVER have you send money to an individual's name through Western Union, Moneygram or any other money sending service, even if they are in the same country.
My list of past overpayment scammers for search purposes:
*Please do not report these emails to the service providers. The scammers will simply create a new email somewhere else making internet searches fruitless. We don't want them creating new emails because as long as they continue to use these email addresses, people that search will find them listed as scam emails.
William Cifuentes Shawn Ten email@example.com
Mrs Jacqueline Augustin Executive Manager Zhejiang Trade & Industry Co, Ltd firstname.lastname@example.org +1 (240) 621-0239
Noam Jotham email@example.com
Purchasing Sales Manager Tonia Takatsuki T&T Tradings (Import/Export) Ltd firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Mrs Sarah Tod Express Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Dave Honsey firstname.lastname@example.org