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Consumer Affairs Reminds Tennesseans to Be Wary of Check Overpayment Scams

Friday, July 05, 2013 | 05:38am
NASHVILLE, TN – The Division of Consumer Affairs warns consumers to be wary of check overpayment scams. An overpayment scam begins with the scam artist responding to an advertisement and offering to purchase the item with a check. It is then that the scam artist concocts a reason for having to pay more than the agreed upon price and asks that the seller pay the difference. When the scam artists’ check bounces, the seller is held accountable for the cost and is out the original difference paid. 
 
Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell reminds consumers to be wary of individuals trying to pay more than the total price by check. “These types of scam artists can come across as very reliable, but it’s important that consumers are skeptical of anyone trying to pay more for an item than the original cost.” Cordell continues by reminding individual sellers to take precautions when taking a check for payment. “If an individual wants to use a check, find the number of the bank where the check was purchased through a trusted directory and call to make sure the check is valid.”  
 
The Federal Trade Commission offers tips to make sure that you don’t end up on the losing side of an overpayment scam: 
Know who you are dealing with and independently confirm your buyer’s name, street address, and telephone number.
Never accept a check for more than your selling price.
Never agree to wire back funds to a buyer.  
Resist pressure to “act now.” If the buyer’s offer is good now, it should be good when the check clears.
If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank or a bank with a local branch. You can visit that bank branch to determine if the check is legitimate.
Consider an alternative method of payment, such as an escrow service or online payment service. If the buyer wants to use a service you have not heard of, check it out to be sure it is reliable. Check its Web site, call its customer service hotline, and read its terms of agreement and privacy policy. If you do not feel comfortable with the service, do not use it.
 
To file a complaint or to learn more about how the Division of Consumer Affairs can support you click here: http://tn.gov/consumer/.
 
For more information on overpayment scams from the Federal Trade Commission click here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/12/checkoverpayment.shtm.
 
Consumer Affairs is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance,which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/, @TNCommerceInsur (Twitter), http://on.fb.me/uFQwUZ (Facebook), http://bit.ly/ry1GyX (YouTube) 
 
 
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