Beware of overpayment cheque scam
Published Monday, January 14, 2019 6:00AM PST
Last Updated Monday, January 14, 2019 7:12PM PST
A young Abbotsford woman who’s just starting out in a new business has had a rough go of it. Sydney Tewson got scammed out of nearly $3,000 by someone claiming they wanted to hire her. Instead she got tricked out of her money and is fighting to get it back.
Tewson was contacted through her Instagram page that offers hair and make-up services.
“She had five bridesmaids, a bride and the mother of the bride,” Tewson said.
And the ‘bride’ sent a cheque via courier for $3,550. Way too much for Tewson’s services. But there was a story to go along with the overpayment.
The ‘bride’ was supposedly in the hospital recovering from a spinal injury and claimed her husband had mistakenly combined Tewson’s payment with the caterer. Tewson was asked to e-transfer the overpayment of $2905.
Ten days later the cheque was reversed. It was counterfeit - causing financial pain for Tewson.
“Quite a bit, it was like a pit in my stomach when I saw that,” said Tewson.
“That’s how they do it. They sell you the story, the sob story, and they appeal to your emotions,” explained Karla Davis with the Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C. “Because you deposited the cheque to your account, it’s your responsibility. So, if the cheque is fraudulent and the bank advises you, you’re going to have to pay the tab.”
But the cheque looked real. It was written on a legitimate business account in Ontario. Sydney says she called that business before depositing it, but no one was available to speak with her. Still suspicious, she says she asked her bank to ensure it was good before releasing the funds for the e-transfer.
“They cleared it. Said, “Yup” – 100 per cent,” Tewson added.
After the funds were reversed she obtained a copy of the cheque and says she went back to the Scotiabank branch where she deposited it.
“The branch manager at Scotiabank, she said the check was 100 per cent counterfeit, the coding was off, the teller should have caught it,” Tewson said.
So Tewson filed a complaint and CTV News followed up with Scotiabank for a comment. A week later Scotiabank says its ombudsman had completed its investigation.
“They reimbursed me,” said Tewson. “I’m very happy.”
She wasn’t expecting it. She says Scotiabank told her that they understood she was upset about what happened and provided no further information, except to say she’d get her money back.
It couldn’t have come at a better time for someone just starting out and struggling to get through the holidays. No matter how it got resolved, Tewson says she just wants to warn others.
"I just wanted people to know what was happening to me. Thank you so much."