Social Media & Cheque Overpayment Scams: Don’t Fall for the Same Old Scam Wrapped in a New Package

March 22, 2022

It’s a common misconception that it’s only the elderly that endure losses from scams. Both The New York Times and CNBC reported that last year tech savvy teens have begun to fall for scams more frequently than their grandparents. But Gen-Z has grown up with technology, so what scams could they be falling for?

The answer may surprise you; it’s the same old scams wrapped in a new, digital package. Many youths haven’t encountered the scams in their original forms and may be more likely to trust them because they occur on familiar mobile and web platforms. We could all stand to learn more about online scams and how to protect ourselves from them.

One of the most common forms of online scams are really rooted in cheque overpayment scams. The victim deposits a fake cheque (in person at a branch or remotely with their banking app) and is told to return the funds to the fraudster or another individual, who is going to allow them to keep a portion of the funds for their hard work. The cheque itself is counterfeit and when it falls through the victim is now at a loss for the money sent, plus any money they may have pre-emptively spent.  

So what’s the new packaging? There are quite a few different ones, and they’re happening on many different social media platforms. Here’s some of the most common scams:


Earn Funds for Companionship 

The victim is offered payment for talking to an individual online with initial interaction through a social media platform. The payment comes in the form of a cheque to be deposited, with a portion to be sent to others. The offer is indeed too good to be true: it’s a cheque overpayment scam. 


Fake Job Offers

The victim is told they’ll be paid up front for a new job but the amount they’ve been paid was a mistake, they’ve been overpaid, so they must send the excess elsewhere. That’s right, it’s a cheque overpayment scam! Common fake job titles are often secret shoppers, but it could be anything, including a social media influencer.

Another iteration of this involves requiring the victim’s online banking info to pay them. No one else should need access to your online banking, it is private and confidential information.


Online Marketplaces

A person offers to pay by cheque for an item being sold online in a marketplace, be it Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. The cheque amount far exceeds the asking price of the item (or vehicle) because… that’s right, it’s a cheque overpayment scam! The buyer may ask the seller to return the excess funds to them, give cash to individual picking item, or send funds to a shipping company.  Online marketplaces can be great places to sell or buy items, just be sure you use them with safety in mind.


Fake Contest Winnings

The victim is contacted by direct message with news that they’ve won a contest. This can be in the form of a cheque overpayment scam or being told they have to pay a fee to collect their non-existent winnings.


What do I do if I receive a fraudulent email, social media message, phone call or text?

Delete the message and do not click on any links or attachments. If this was on social media, block the individual and review your account settings. if applicable, consider switching to a private account. If this was a text, block the number. Do not provide any personal information


What do I do if I have fallen victim to fraudulent activity? 

Contact Libro immediately to report that you are, or believe to be, a victim of fraud. Additionally, notify any other financial institutions and credit card companies that may be at risk. 


Libro Contact Centre: 1-800-361-8222
Visa*: 1-855-341-4643 

Follow the rest of these steps.  


*The Collabria Visa Card is issued by Collabria Financial Services Inc. pursuant to a license from Visa. Visa is a trademark of Visa Int. and is used under license 

By Meredith Bouckley

Meredith is a Risk Officer for Libro Credit Union. She is passionate about protecting Owners from fraud and scams! When she is not working, she enjoys spending time watching her son play football, as well as volunteering with the football organization.  She is also very active in woodworking and crafts.