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Police issue warning after online scam

By Brendan Burke  [1]

BELLEVILLE – Belleville Police are reminding residents to remain vigilant after a recent online overpayment scam.

Police report that an 18-year-old Belleville man became the victim of fraud after cashing a phoney cheque from an online transaction. In return for the item he sold, the man received a cheque from the buyer that exceeded the initial asking price. The victim was then asked to transfer the excess money back to the buyer via electronic transfer, which resulted in a $1,600 loss.

Fraudsters carry out overpayment scams – which are disguised as legitimate transactions between a seller and buyer – by sending counterfeit cheques to the victim that exceed the amount owed. The victim or seller is then asked to deposit the cheque and wire the additional money back to the buyer. By cashing the fraudulent cheque, the money is charged back to the victim’s account at their expense.

In a statement released on Tuesday, city police warned anyone selling goods online to be weary of cheques, and that if overbidding from buyers seems too good to be true, it probably is. Belleville police also told residents to look for warning signs. They encourage an independent confirmation of the buyer’s name, address and telephone number.

The media release, citing Canada’s anti-fraud guide, also cautioned sellers not to wire funds back to buyers, reminding residents that legitimate purchasers won’t make this request.

Additional tips can be found on the anti-fraud centre’s website [2].