Spotlight: Overpayment scams
Selling something online can be complicated, even more so when a supposed buyer turns out to be a fraudster. Known commonly as Craigslist scams, overpayment scams can occur on any sales platform and target sellers by sending more than the agreed price of the item for sale and then requesting the victim either return the extra funds or send them elsewhere. When the original payment is returned as fraudulent, the victim is left with less money than they had before the scam.
The red flags of an overpayment scam are apparent if you know where to look. Being paid more than the agreed price is the biggest warning sign. A scammer might claim the extra funds are to pay for movers or were sent in error, but either way, they will request the victim send the extra funds via cash, wire, money order, gift card or cryptocurrency.
Here are some ways to protect yourself from an overpayment scam:
- Do not accept a payment for more than the asking price.
- Review the payment for suspicious elements (such as checks written from out of state or by someone unrelated to the purchase).
- Never agree to send funds to another entity on the buyer’s behalf.
- Resist pressure to send funds immediately.
Call The Village Bank immediately at (617) 340-1288 if you or someone you know has fallen victim to an overpayment scam.
Phishing scams are cause for concern at a time when reliance on text messages, emails, calls and social media to keep up to date is at an all-time high. Fraudsters message victims claiming to be a trusted person or company such as a bank or service provider and asking to verify activity or to provide personal or financial information, or to trick you into clicking an attachment or link to compromise your devices.
Know the red flags of phishing:
- Unexpected messages from a person or company you may or may not know
- Urging you to click links or call provided numbers
- Requests for personal and financial information including access to computer or online banking
- Pressure to act immediately
The best defense against phishing is to verify any unexpected claim through known legitimate methods. If you receive an email or text message asking you to click on a link or open an attachment, ask if you know the company or person attempting to contact you. If you do, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real— not the provided contact information. If not, it could be a phishing scam.
If you receive a phishing message of any kind, report it to the Federal Trade Commission here.
Awareness: Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15)
June 15th is Elder Abuse Awareness Day, an initiative started in 2006 to put the spotlight on the growing threat of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. According to the World Health Organization, one in six people age 60 and older have experienced a form of elder exploitation. The majority of elder abuse cases are perpetrated by someone the victim knows and trusts, which can include family, friends and/or caregivers. Other cases are often perpetrated by strangers.
Many factors can lead to elder abuse – social isolation, dependence on a caregiver, lack of access to resources, financial circumstances or cognitive impairment. In situations where these risks are present, the likelihood of elder abuse rises.
The following are a few telltale signs of elder abuse and exploitation:
- Unusual behavior, anxiety or unease
- Withdrawal from normal activities
- Poor hygiene or appearance
- Uncharacteristic purchases by individual or caregiver
- Failure to pay bills or keep appointments
In a commitment to keeping older members of our community safe from exploitation, the Village Bank has completed the AARP BankSafe Initiative to help employees and customers in identify and combat elder financial exploitation and abuse in all its forms.
If you or someone you know is the victim of elder abuse, report the activity immediately.