Consumers have had to deal with “overpayment” scams for a while, and now criminals are setting their sights on businesses.

Who Is It Targeting: Small businesses

What Is It: Overpayment scam that pays you by phony check then requests a return of the overpaid amount

What Are They After: Local small businesses tend to rely on word of mouth and reputation, so when two different landscaping businesses in one town were asked to send back the overpaid amount for large jobs they had done, they readily complied in order to “help” their customers out. Unfortunately, the checks they were paid within the first place were bogus, so a large amount of money they returned to the scammer came out of their own funds.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Never agree to send money back to someone who claims to have overpaid you.
  • If the customer or buyer states they’ve overpaid, tell them you’ll be happy to wait for a new check for the correct amount.
  • If there’s even a slight chance this is legitimate, do not send money back until the original check clears your bank…otherwise, it’s coming out of your account.

Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from Patch.com.


If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530.