The Nigerian Purchase Scam is a new form of fraud taking victims in the online space. This is becoming widespread in auction sites and on business’ ecommerce websites. A buyer will bid on or seek to purchase big-ticket goods (e.g., cars, boats, etc.) from the website. They will pay by forged cashier’s check and ask the seller to ship the product overseas. The buyer will “accidentally” overpay the seller, stating “they wanted to make sure there were enough funds for shipping”. The buyer will then ask the seller to deposit the check and refund the amount of the overpayment. The seller will deposit the counterfeit cashier’s check and send the overpayment to the buyer prior to the check clearing through the international banking system. The seller is out the funds equal to the overpayment. In addition, the seller could be down the value of the shipped goods if those are sent at the same time.
To protect yourself, always be careful when transacting with unknown parties. If you question the legitimacy of a buyer, talk with your Branch Manager to determine the best way to validate the check and funds prior to shipping any goods or providing a refund for the overpayment.