Be Aware: Overpayment Scam Targeting Small-Market Stations


A radio station owner in California is warning broadcasters after he says his station was targeted by an overpayment scam. He says someone tried to con the station out of tens of thousands of dollars – and he’s not alone.

Carl Goldman owns KHTS in Santa Clarita, CA. He says they were contacted by a man from an Ottawa-based research consultancy. The sales agent approached KHTS with a proposal for a one-month advertising schedule for August for a medical supply company based in Vancouver, Canada. A professional commercial and a month-long schedule, costing $4,800, were promptly provided.

When asked about payment, Goldman says the agent insisted that payment for the service be wired directly into the radio station’s checking account. A week later, KHTS received another email stating the client accidentally wired $40,800, instead of $4,800. KHTS was asked to refund the difference of $36,000.

The radio station indeed found an additional $40,800 deposited in their account, but upon scrutiny, KHTS discovered irregularities in the payment process, which raised suspicions. The funds were not wired as initially claimed, but came as a check from a US Bank in Washington State. KHTS suspected that whoever was behind the deposit intended to stop payment on the check after receiving the overpaid amount, thereby executing a classic check overpayment scam.

KHTS then reached out to the Canadian medical supply company the consultancy claimed to represent, only to find they were a legitimate company with no affiliation to the agent.

After hearing Goldman’s story, Radio Ink decided to investigate the sales agent and the consultancy further.

Searching for the agent on Google or LinkedIn produced no results, unusual for anyone in international sales. Radio Ink visited the consultancy’s website, and using a reverse image search on several staff page photo, we were led to the images on various stock photo sites.

The site’s registrar info was protected via a proxy service from the company the domain was purchased through, NameCheap, but an address was given in Reykjavik, Iceland. Radio Ink Googled the address, finding further claims of various scams stemming from that location that could be related.

Finally, when we called the number listed on the website, there was only a robotic answering message that did not mention the consultancy at all. Our call was not returned.

Since posting about his experience on the KHTS website, numerous smaller-market stations from across the country have contacted Goldman. Each one has had similar suspect dealings with the same company, including one that has lost money from the overpayment.

Radio Ink corroborated the story with one of those stations, obtained emails featuring requests for ACH information and tenuous grammar, similar to what Goldman described to us.


  1. Same here. Our company was approached via email for a proposal for a 3 month schedule for our syndicated Country Oldies Show, which we provided to an address for Hatley Consultants in Ottawa for $7300. Our bank received a check drawn on Commerce West Bank for $73,000 and a letter from “Radiance Surgery Center” requesting the check be deposited to our account.
    The scammers never got around to requesting the overpayment refund because we identified the plot, called them out on it, and our bank never made the deposit. We found that Hatley Consultants, Radiance Surgery, and Commerce West Bank are all real, legitimate businesses, none of which have any knowledge of these transactions.

  2. They seem to be going after small newspapers as well. We’re an average 12-page black-and-white independent weekly paper in a small Ohio town of 3,500, and were approached with the prospect of a full page weekly ad for one year — just too good to be true. Good thing I found this post. Don’t quite know yet if I want to waste their time or mine, or just keep the overpayment.

  3. Just got this email 2 days ago.

    Greetings to you.

    I would like to inquire how to use your media services to advertise our client’s company according to the client’s request.
    Could you be so kind as to provide more details on how to advertise through your media?

    Kindly let me know the campaign you render, the time duration, and the price rate.

    Revert with all the necessary details to know how to proceed to do business with you.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Michael May | Sales Manager
    Hatley Consultants Inc
    1730 Saint Laurent Boulevard Suite 800
    Ottawa, Ontario K1G 5L1 Canada
    (O) 613-216-1866
    (E) [email protected]

  4. The same thing happened to us in Texas. I am the general manager for Reynolds Radio (KBLZ/KAZE, The Blaze 102.7 &106.9) and KAPW (Mega 99.3). Upon receiving the check for $68,000 for a $6,800 order I noticed the Routing number had only 8 digits. We were waiting for payment before starting the schedule. Sure enough, Like Carl, we got the phone call. Lesson learned is never refund before funds clear.

    Benny Springer


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