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Attorney General William Tong


Attorney General Tong Warns Consumers to be Vigilant of Social Media Selling Scams

(Hartford, CT) — Attorney General William Tong is warning consumers to be vigilant of an overpayment scam targeting individuals selling items on social media.

In this particular scam, the scammer contacts an individual who is selling something on social media. They send a check to the seller that looks like a cashier’s check for well over the amount of the item. The scammer says that the extra amount is for shipping. The scammer wants the seller to deposit the check and give the balance to the “shipper.” The check from the scammer is fake and if deposited, will be returned for insufficient funds. The seller then loses the money they sent to the “shipper” while the scammer profits.

“This is a common scam tactic that sadly tricks many people into parting with their hard-earned money,” Attorney General Tong said. “If you’re selling something online, be vigilant of bad actors offering you more money than agreed upon. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.”

Here is an example of a social media selling scam in action:

The Office of the Attorney General has received dozens of complaints about these kinds of scams and is urging consumers to be vigilant of all kinds of overpayment scams. These scams are common and can take many forms. In another case, scammers contacted a landlord, overpaid the rent and security deposit and instead of cutting a check with the correct amount of money, asked the landlord to send the balance back to them. When the landlord paid them, the scammers canceled their payment to the landlord.

Here are some tips on how to best avoid these scams:

  • Know who you are dealing with – independently confirm your buyer’s name, street address, and telephone number.
  • Never accept a check for more than your selling price.
  • Never agree to wire back funds to a buyer – a legitimate buyer will not pressure you to do so, and you have limited recourse if there is a problem with a wire transfer.
  • Resist pressure to “act now.” If the buyer’s offer is good now, it should be good when the check clears.
  • If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank or a bank with a local branch. You can visit that bank branch to determine if the check is legitimate.
  • Consider an alternative method of payment, such as an escrow service or online payment service. If the buyer wants to use a service you have not heard of, be sure to check it out to be sure it is reliable – check its Web site, call its customer service hotline, and read its terms of agreement and privacy policy. If you do not feel comfortable with the service, do not use it.

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam or have been contacted by a scammer, contact the Office of the Attorney General at 860-808-5318 or

Twitter: @AGWilliamTong
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Elizabeth Benton

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