FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A Fort St. John resident is wanting to alert members of the public who are selling goods online about a new scam that could cause them to lose a decent amount of money.
Justin Thomas said that he was contacted by someone claiming to be interested in the motorhome he was selling online.
He explained that the potential buyer claimed to be from out of town and was purchasing the motorhome on their clients’ behalf, adding that the buyer’s financial secretary had mailed a cheque for RV.
Thomas said that around a month later a cheque showed up, but it was issued in U.S. dollars for much more than his asking price for the RV.
When he texted the buyer back saying that the cheque was for more than the asking price, he received a response saying that the financial secretary had issued the cheque for a number of items that the client was supposedly buying in Fort St. John, and accidentally issued the cheque for the cumulative total.
“I knew then that, to me, it was a scam.”
He said that he went in to speak to his bank manager, who told him that the cheque definitely looked legitimate but that she knew about the scam, which has also been reported in the Metro Vancouver area.
The scammers will send the cheque to a seller for a much greater amount than their item’s asking price, and will ask the seller to then deposit the cheque and then transfer the remainder back to the buyer.
Since the cheque has been issued in American dollars, Thomas said that his bank told him it would take at least 15 days for the cheque to clear. Instead of clearing, the cheque will bounce, leaving people scammed potentially out of a large sum of money.
A similar scam was reported by the Dawson Creek RCMP six years ago, when a mail scam asked residents to cash a cheque and then wire $4,000 through Western Union to residents in the States and keep the remainder.
Anyone who suspects a scam is asked to call the Fort St. John RCMP at (250) 787-8100, their local police, or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.
With files from CTV Vancouver: https://bc.ctvnews.ca/selling-online-beware-of-the-overpayment-cheque-scam-1.4038297