OPP investigating a new variation of the overpayment scam

OPP in Norfolk County are investigating an overpayment fraud with a new twist, after a Port Dover resident reported a scam to police on Thursday.

Police say the resident responded by email to an ad seeking a care giver for an elderly female with dementia. A rate of pay was established, and then the resident received a cheque in the mail for an amount greater than the originally agreed upon price.

The cheque came with instructions requiring the resident to cash the cheque and then forward the remaining funds through the use of a money transfer service. The resident immediately realized that this was a scam and contacted police.

An overpayment scam is the type of fraud in which the person receiving the cheque is actually owed the money for goods sold or services payable. The person either selling goods or responding to an ad receives a counterfeit cashier's cheque, personal cheque or corporate cheque for an amount in excess of the amount owing. They are then asked to deposit the cheque and wire the excess funds immediately back. Once the cheque is deposited, it returns as counterfeit and is charged back to victim's financial account.

Police are warning residents to protect themselves against this sort of scam by never agreeing to a deal in which the payer wishes to issue an amount for more than the agreed price with the expectation that the balance will be reimbursed. The scammers use a variety of excuses to explain the overpayment, but police say any such excuse should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

Canadians can report scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.