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Roseville, Calif. – Recently a Roseville business person received a large order for merchandise from an overseas destination.

The overseas buyer then deposited a large sum of money, tens of thousands of dollars more than the cost of the order, into the Roseville business’s account, and then emailed the business, saying they’d accidentally overpaid, and asked for a refund. The Roseville business owner contacted his bank, and learned that the original “mistaken” large deposit was drawn on a fraudulent account. Fortunately the local business had good fraud prevention practices in place–they required payment before shipping merchandise, and checked with their bank before taking any action on the “mistaken” large deposit of funds, so they didn’t lose anything to the scammer.

This is a variation of a common scam. Someone–usually someone you know only through email or the Internet–will send you a large check, whether to help them move funds out of Nigeria, or pay you your Canadian lottery winnings, or pay you to be a secret shopper or work from home, or some other pretext. Then they’ll ask you to keep part of the big check, and send them back the remainder.

The scam artists are counting on you to send them your money before you find out from your bank that their check or deposit was no good.

Just because a deposit shows up immediately on your bank statement doesn’t mean that it’s good. It may take one or two weeks for your bank to validate a deposit. Always call your bank to confirm a deposit it has cleared before taking any action on it.