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What is overpayment fraud?

If you've been accused of running an overpayment scam in Wichita, Kansas, it's important to know exactly how this scam is defined and what you're being accused of doing. Below is the basic set-up for how it works.

First, someone will advertise that they have an item that they want to sell. This is often done on sites like Craigslist, where people can sell almost anything that they want, or eBay.

The person running the scam will find that item and ask to buy it. The buyer will then mail a money order to the seller in exchange for the goods. The money order will originally be accepted by the bank, so it will look legit, and the seller will deposit it and mail out the product.

Rather than mailing the right amount of money, though, the scammer will "accidentally" send more money than was needed. For instance, if an item cost $100, the buyer may send over $700. The buyer will then act like it was a mistake and ask for $600 to be sent back. The seller will usually do it without question.

After that, though, the bank will find out that the money order was actually forged. As such, the bank will need to take the full $700 out of the seller's bank account. This can happen weeks or months after the sale. This means that the seller then loses the item that he or she was selling and the $600 that was sent to the buyer for the "extra" money.

Those who are accused of running overpayment scams must know what legal rights and defense options they have.

Source: U.S. Department of State, "Real Estate and Overpayment Fraud," accessed Dec. 23, 2015

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