Scams This Week 8/23/22

August 23, 2022

Anywhere that you can sell something online, there are scammers lurking to steal your money or use you to launder money they've already stolen.


Marketplace Scams: Historically scammers have used the overpayment method. Anytime someone sends you a check for more than the asking amount and asks you to send the overpayment back, or to the items "transporter" that is going to be a scam. Those funds will be going to a money mule or the suspect. The check provided by the scam will then "bounce" or return fraudulent and you will be responsible for the funds you sent.

This is still used but I think it is more common knowledge since it has been around for so long. Scammers have a new popular scam using "P2Ps" or Peer to Peer payment. It's all about creating confusion and it starts when you as a seller list an item for more than a few hundred dollars.  You are contacted by a buyer who is a scammer. They request to use a P2P payment platform. Zelle and Venmo are very popular but any of the P2P Services or accounts that hold funds can be used.

Once you accept the terms of the purchase there are several ways this can go.  You will receive an email that appears to be from the P2P stating the buyer has paid you through a business account. But to receive the funds you need to upgrade your personal account to a business account.   The cost can be anywhere from $300 to $500.00.  The scammer may offer to pay for the upgrade if you send the money back. You receive a fake email stating you have received payment, and then you refund the funds. You'll soon realize that you just sent your own funds and never received payment. The scammer often will attempt to get more funds using confusion. You may start to get fraudulent emails that appear to be from the P2P  stating the transaction did not go through. The scammer will ask you to try again. Some victims have sent the payment 5 times before they realize they are being scammed and the funds have been sent.

To piggyback from last week’s tip, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued guidelines in June 2021 that explain “an unauthorized EFT includes a transfer initiated by a person who obtained the access device from the consumer through fraud or robbery” are protected.  Your bank should reimburse you. Make sure you are persistent and know the Consumer Protections .

While P2Ps are easy, they should be used for accepting or sending funds to friends or family and people you know.  Any time you are receiving or sending funds to strangers you are taking a risk.

You can contact Det. Thorne on Facebook or follow @DetThorneBPD on Twitter.

Find more scam prevention tips on our website.

Contact: Boise Police Media Relations

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