Beware of Purchase Scams: Protect Yourself from Overpayment Fraud

In the digital age, online selling has become increasingly popular, offering convenience and accessibility to both buyers and sellers. However, with this convenience comes the risk of falling victim to purchase scams, particularly the overpayment scam.


Overpayment scams typically involve a scammer posing as a legitimate buyer who sends a payment exceeding the agreed-upon price for an item being sold. The scammer then requests the seller to refund the excess amount, often claiming it was a mistake or providing a plausible excuse for the overpayment.

Unsuspecting sellers who comply with the request to refund the excess amount soon find out that the initial payment was fraudulent, leaving them out of pocket for both the refunded amount and the item they sold. This type of scam exploits the seller's trust and desire to provide good customer service, ultimately leaving them at a financial loss.

To protect yourself from falling victim to overpayment scams when selling items online, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Be wary of overpayments: If a buyer sends you more money than the agreed-upon price, proceed with caution. Verify the payment source and consider it a red flag if the transaction seems too good to be true.
  • Avoid refund requests: Legitimate buyers will not ask you to refund excess payments. Refrain from sending any funds back to the buyer without verifying the legitimacy of the transaction.
  • Verify payment authenticity: Before shipping any items, ensure that payments have cleared and are legitimate. Be cautious of rushed transactions or buyers pressuring you to refund money quickly.
  • Use secure payment methods: Opt for secure payment methods that offer protection for both buyers and sellers, such as PayPal or escrow services, which can help mitigate risks associated with fraudulent transactions.
  • Trust your instincts: If something feels off or suspicious during a transaction, trust your gut instinct and consider walking away from the deal. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential scams.

By staying informed and vigilant against overpayment scams, you can safeguard yourself from falling victim to fraudulent schemes while selling items online. Remember to prioritize your safety and financial security by following these tips and remaining cautious when conducting online transactions.