What is overpayment fraud?
- This is where a fraudster contacts a business, posing as a customer, to order goods or services. They make a payment, usually by cheque or draft.
- After making the payment, the fraudster gets in contact to reduce or cancel the order, or to advise that an error’s been made, and requests an urgent refund.
- The business processes the refund quickly and returns it using an electronic payment method.
- In due course, the original cheque or draft is returned unpaid because it’s fraudulent, and the business is left out of pocket.
What to look out for
- Be wary of a new customer making an unusually large order or making a payment above the asking price, regardless of the reason given.
- Easy sales – is the customer too good to be true? For example, they are not even interested in the price or details about the goods.
- Large sales – ask yourself if the sale is much higher than your usual sales. Is the customer buying lots of different items? Above all, does this person act like your regular types of customer?
- Make sure the payment has cleared and any funds paid into your account are irreversible before making a refund.
- Don’t feel pressured to release the goods or return any of the funds until the payment has cleared.
- Be wary when a customer asks for a refund to be paid to a different account or via a different method than the original payment.
- If you feel that something isn’t right about an instruction or payment, don’t be afraid to speak to your relationship manager or the fraud team before paying.
Actions you can take now
- Share this page with employees and colleagues, so they know what to look out for. Put training in place, so people in your business know how to spot and handle common threats. You can use our webinars and resources to help.
- For the latest cyber security advice and resources, visit the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
Always think twice and make double checking second nature
Take Five to stop fraud
Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.