Overpayment scam making rounds on Vancouver Island

In reality, the credit card being used is likely stolen or fake

Better Business Bureau serving Vancouver Island is warning the local business community to be on high alert for an overpayment scam that could result in the loss of thousands of dollars.

BBB has received multiple different reports from local businesses that are being targeted with a sophisticated email scam. It all begins when the business receives an email from a supposed customer requesting the purchase of a specific product or service. Sometimes the email comes directly from the fake customer, other times the email looks as if it has come through a contact form from an online directory webpage. Through an ongoing email dialogue with the business, the scammer requests the ordering of a detailed and very specific product offering provided by the company.

When it comes time for a deposit or partial pre-payment of the product, the “customer” creates some sort of elaborate story or situation in which a third business is involved that cannot accept credit card payment. The local business is asked if they could take a larger lump sum payment from the customer’s credit card. The business is then asked to use the money to pay for the ordered product or service, and to e-transfer the difference to the third-party business.

BBB is warning local businesses not to fall for this classic overpayment scam.

“In reality, the credit card being used is likely stolen or fake, and the money that is being e-transferred will be lost to the business and virtually untraceable once sent,” the BBB says.

Tips to protect your business:

• Ensure all your staff understand how overpayment scams work. Whether the fraudster is using fake cheques or credit cards and requesting wire transfers or electronic transfers, the scam still works the same.

• Never accept an overpayment for a product or service.

• Ensure you have systems in place to make sure fees, deposits and payments have legitimately cleared through your financial institution before purchasing products or providing refunds etc. Speak to your financial institutions about the best practices for protecting your business from overpayment fraud, and fake payments.

• Don’t fall victim to sad or dramatic stories, with high pressure circumstances, under which you must act urgently. Scam artists are great at pulling on your heart strings to try to rip you off.

• Report all incidents of fraud to your BBB and local police.

For information on protecting yourself from fraud visit bbb.org/Vancouver-island.

Just Posted

Mediators appointed to help address issues in IHealth review

Review too little, too late for Qualicum Bay patient

Smoking ban arrives on BC Ferries

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries enacts smoking ban

UPDATE: Whiskey Creek floodwaters subside

Area roads reopened following Sunday morning closure

Parksville water project seeks new manager

City operations manager moves to new job with RDN

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

Road conditions wreak havoc for Comox Valley drivers

Icy road conditions early Monday morning kept first responders very busy throughout… Continue reading

Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Kwalikum girls notch fourth straight hoop win

Qualicum Beach squad romps past Barsby, 56-25

Question of the Week, Jan. 23

Would you benefit from high-speed internet in a rural community?… Continue reading

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Most Read