Taking Back the ID

Be alert for overpay wire-transfer scam and COVID-19 small-business loan frauds

Fraudsters, disguised as potential customers, are sending phishing emails to businesses to foist on them a con game. And scammers are claiming to be approved lenders under the U.S. SBA Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Readers beware! This version  of a wire-transfer scam (and there are several others), the check-overpayment fraud, often begins when a fraudster overpays a business for contracted work via a check or fake credit card and then asks the victim to wire the difference back to the fraudster’s or an accomplice’s bank account.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning consumers of this dangerous swindle, which is the fifth-most common telemarketing fraud and the fourth-most common internet scam ever reported. (See FTC Warns of ‘Check Overpayment’ Scam, by Robert Longley, ThoughtCo., May 11, 2017.)

In this scam, the person you’re doing business with “sends you a check for more than the amount they owe you, and then instructs you to wire the balance back to them,” Longley writes. “Or, they send a check and tell you to deposit it, keep part of the amount for your own compensation, and then wire the rest back for one reason or another. The results are the same: the check eventually bounces, and you’re stuck, responsible for the full amount, including what you wired to the scammer.”

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