How to avoid overpayment scams

Published: Updated:

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Overpayment scams are now on the rise.

Jordan Lyle, a recent college grad, searched online for work as a nanny while looking for a job as a broadcast journalist. She advertised her services on a popular website and quickly received an offer.

It was a single mother moving to the area who said she would pay Lyle $20 an hour to babysit her wheelchair-bound child.

However, the picture was fake and so was the job.

A scammer posing as the mother offered to pay $1,900 upfront. The scammer told Lyle to deposit the check at her bank, keep $250 for herself, then put the balance in a separate account to buy a new wheelchair.

“She said ‘I need you to take out the money and then go deposit it into another bank,'” Lyle said. “That’s where I thought this is weird.”

This was the beginning of an overpayment scam.

Identity theft and scam expert Adam Levin said the scheme is being reported nationwide.

β€œIt’s a fake check and what they’ve done is that there’s no money there,” Levin said. “In the end, you end up covering the check.”

The way the scheme is carried out is that a scammer sends a check for a certain amount of money. The scammer then asks the victim to deposit it, keep some for themselves and wire the rest to the scammer.

But once the bank realizes the check is fake, the victim is on the hook for the full amount listed on the check.

“Some of them are very sophisticated,” Levin said. “I mean, one thing that people under estimate is the sophistication, creativity and persistence of scam artists.”

Lyle was immediately suspicious and never sent any money. She’s now warning others not to fall for the scheme.

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