Buying and selling online
When you receive a cheque for an online transaction, don't cash it so soon.
Access to the Internet has allowed fraudsters to reach a much wider audience than they would have dreamed possible before, to maintain contact with their victims on a continuous basis, and to change the details of their scams at a moment’s notice when they think someone is onto them.
This basic scenario has continued to evolve over time, taking on different twists, and those who use it can be quite convincing, as is evident in their ability to con their victims.
Advance fee schemes
If you offer goods or services online, you could receive fraudulent cheques, money orders or travelers’ cheques for 10X more than the item is worth. Often, the person would say they made a mistake and ask that the balance be wired back to them. What the victim doesn’t realize is that the cheque is a forgery and is worthless. The fraudster is taking advantage of the time required for processing the cheque to get away with it.
Secret shopper scam
This scam targets people who want to work from home – moms, pensioners, people with disabilities. The initial contact usually comes by way of email from a free email account with no company named, no website, and no address or phone number.
They will send you a cheque to cash or deposit into your account, tell you to keep your fee and wire the rest of the money to them via a specific financial institute or money exchange service. About four weeks later, your bank discovers the forgery and you are out of luck.
Avoid being a victim
If you place an ad on the Internet or offer an item for sale on an online auction site, never accept payment for an amount higher than the price asked.
If you think this is still a legitimate deal, return the cheque to the buyer and have them re-issue the cheque in the proper amount.
Be vigilant when you receive a cheque – whether it’s a certified cheque, traveler’s cheque, gift cheque or money order. Scammers use the names of banks, financial institutions and other entities issuing cheques.
Canada Post Money Orders have security features such as, when you hold one to the light, you will see beaver shaped watermarks in the top portion. Also, make sure that value of the money order does not exceed $999.99, which is the maximum amount allowed.
Ask yourself why a complete stranger would send you a cheque for any amount? Be vigilant. It could be a scam!
If you receive a bogus cheque, give it to your local police service.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Learn more about online shopping fraud.
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