A recent incident has been brought to the attention of the police whereby a local person was contacted regarding an item he was selling via a website. The buyer overpaid via a cheque, asking for a refund of the difference. The cheque initially cleared through his bank account and the seller refunded the difference as requested. However, as is always possible, a problem with the cheque arose and the bank withdrew it leaving the seller ‘out of pocket’.
The police would like to take this opportunity to remind members of the public to exercise caution when entering into financial transactions via the internet. It may be in your interest to consider the following points as potentially suspicious before you send or transfer your hard earned money.
- Someone agrees to buy an item without seeing it.
- Contact is only made via email (Always put the email address through an internet search engine; it may be a known scammer).
- The buyer is from overseas or the UK, ask yourself why someone would be interested in an item, especially if it could be easily sourced closer to home.
- The buyer asks you for money or ‘overpays’ then request you transfer the balance back, especially when paying by cheque.
Whilst these signs may not necessary indicate that someone is behaving dishonestly, if it looks suspicious it probably is and if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.