Kelowna RCMP issue warning after 'overpayment scam' reappears

The Kelowna RCMP detachment is seen in this file photo. (CTV)

Police in B.C.'s Interior say they've seen a resurgence of "the overpayment scam" in recent weeks, and they're warning the public to be vigilant when selling items online.

Overpayment scammers approach sellers and make a purchase using a cheque made out for more than the asking price, according to Kelowna RCMP.

"The excuse is often that they misunderstood the purchase price, or thought that the shipping would be more," Mounties explained in a news release Friday.

"They then ask you to send or give them the balance back."

The cheque itself is fake, but the scammer is hoping that the victim won't realize that until it is deposited and processed by their bank. At that point, the victim has lost both their money and the sold items.

"Fake cheques come in many forms," police said. "They can be business or personal cheques, printed to look like legitimate cheques, stolen from a victim of identity fraud, or even a fake money order."

To avoid falling victim to the scam, sellers should not accept cheques for more money than their asking price, RCMP said. Police also advise only accepting cheques from known and reliable buyers, or requesting cash or an e-transfer as payment instead.

Anyone who is a victim of an overpayment scam should contact their local police, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and the credit bureaus Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada, police said.