Online sellers stung by scammers spoofing PayPal brand

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Selling your used stuff online has become commonplace. So have scams taking advantage of the good names of reputable online companies. At the FTC, we’ve heard from people stung by scammers spoofing PayPal. The scam generally goes like this: You post a high-value item, like a used car, for sale online. In no time at all, you get an email from a buyer willing to pay full price — or more! But he sets conditions; he is only willing to pay by PayPal or insists the sale must happen right away. What’s really going on? A ruse to steal your personal information, money or merchandise.

Here are some suspicious situations to look for and steps to safe selling online:

Scenario One: The buyer claims he can only pay via PayPal. Don’t have a PayPal account? No problem, he says. He’ll send you an email with a link so you can set one up.

What should you do? Don’t take the bait. The link will send you to a website masquerading as PayPal. Any information you enter will be collected by the bogus buyer, and may be used to commit fraud. If you need to set up an account, go directly to PayPal.com.

Scenario Two: “Check your email!” The buyer claims he has sent payment to your PayPal account with additional funds so you can ship the merchandise ASAP, but oops, he sent too much money. He asks you to return the extra money via a money wiring service. It’s all a lie, including the extra money the buyer says he included.

What should you do? Log into your PayPal account. Make sure you’ve been paid before you ship. Never follow links in emails from people you don’t know. The safest approach is to open a browser window, navigate to PayPal.com, and log in yourself. Also, if the buyer claims to have sent extra money, and asks for some back, that’s a big red flag.

Scenario Three: The buyer sends you real money through a real PayPal account, and you ship him the car. Problem is, the PayPal account belongs to someone else! You might need to return the money even though the scammer has your wheels.

What now? Contact PayPal and ask them to open an investigation. The company offers seller protections so you aren’t liable for unauthorized transactions. Also file a complaint with the FTC and your local police department.

Learn how to recognize and avoid common online scams. And contact PayPal at spoof@paypal.com if you’ve been stung by a PayPal spoof. The company wants to hear from you.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Comments

Please send this to all paypal users. Thanks Regards

A woman wants to buy my ring on Donedeal.ie. She asks how I want to be paid, i say PayPal. Then she says the money has been sent. I get an email from PayPal but it's a fraudulent site saying the amount plus an extra amount for registered post in pending and will be transferred to my account on proof of dispatching the ring. When I go to my PayPal account, there is no money pending. Be careful.

I have been scammed by bogus PayPal payment notification and couldn’t retrieve my parcel from Royal Mail. I have now got it back by doing the following: go to tracking number online and delay the delivery to another date, when that date nears, delay the delivery date again and again if necessary until the parcel is returned to sender. Royal Mail won’t retrieve your parcel by request under any circumstances so this is the only way.

""Alright. My name is Greenblatt Joseph and am okay with its conditions and i'm buying this for someone very dear to me as a gift and i don't want him to know about it, am not in town at the moment because am in the Army and i am E-4, So can you assure me i will not be disappointed buying this from you ? I have a mover that will come for pickup once payment clears first. Do you have a PayPal account ?"
From.. +1 (970) 601-0123

same thing happened to me. I hate scammers

Just happened to me..almost bit.I'm glad I googled pay pal scams..smh

I just had an almost identical message from a scammer wanting to buy a motorcycle I have listed on eBay. My scammer was an Army E-6 though, outranking your scammer ;)
To verify his identity, I asked him to send me an email from his military account. That shut him up.
Name he used was Gary Gardner (203) 590-2869 BEWARE!!!!

Mine's an Air Force Major who outranks all your enlisted guys. He writes pretty much the same stuff, though.

I have to one-up. Got one today that is a submarine engineer!

I had a Colonel today!

March 1, 2018. I had one a few days back that was a low ranking Army Sergeant Name Brent. His number was 415-944-3765!! Be Aware! Stay Safe While Doing Online Business!

I had a female oceanographer who was currently still at work and wanted me to ship the item to her friend and was willing to pay extra for my service. It's weird because in the end she would have ended up paying for a brand new item. She insisted on paying through PayPal. I deleted the message then after 2 minutes I get another email from her saying 'thanks for your quick reply'. Obviously a scam because I didn't even reply back.

This site is such a lifesaver. I had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right so I googled and here we are.. this is what I got

Hello Again,

I'm really interested in buying it from you and i agree with the price you mentioned.Please i want you to understand that i wouldn't be chanced to finalize the deal in person due to the nature of my job as am offshore at work at the moment,I'm a chief cook in the stewards department but i would arrange for transport agent to come for pick up and inspection on my behalf .If we have deal kindly send me your PayPal details as listed below so i can proceed with the transfer and we can begin to finalize the from there

Hello Again,

I apologize for late response,I want you to understand that i want to pay through PayPal because i currently do not have access to my bank account as i don't use online banking and can't get to the bank at the moment due to the nature of my job,Moreover the transport agent coming for pick up accepts only western union transfer as means of payment and i can't make such transfer not to talk of sending the funds to you through them,i Hope you don't mind creating an account with PayPal?,It's easy safe and reliable to use all you need to do is visit www. paypal. com/ ae to register an account and get back to me with your PayPal details as i have requested for in my previous mail so i can proceed with the transfer and we can begin to finalize the deal from there,I wait your response as soon as possible.

Holy cow. Same thing happened to me today but he said he was Colton Gardner, an E6 from Wisconsin. Wanted to buy my motorcycle for his brothers birthday!

I just got my 4th call ,4 different people, try to get me to set up a PayPal account. A little annoying.

Thank you for posting this. Colton Gardner just emailed me about a motorcycle.

Same person emailed me yesterday about an hour after I posted my motorcycle. Here is what he said;
Thanks for your email,

First of all, here's a little background about me,

My name is Colton Gardner. I'm in the United States Army, Staff Sergeant (E-6), but I am currently not in town at the moment as I am currently on deployment and we are not allowed to make or receive calls frequently as phones communication's are restricted but we do have internet access and that is our major means of communication to the outside world. So let’s get back to business!

I'm purchasing this for my brother as a birthday gift and he's not aware of me doing this because am making it a surprise for him. So can you assure me I won't be disappointed buying this from you? Also, I do have a few questions I would love to ask about it.

What's the condition, Any damages?
Are you the original owner?
Would love to know the reason why selling it?
Does it have any mechanical issues?
Can you send me more pictures?
Do you have the title in hand?
Is there a lien on the title?
Do you have a verified account with PayPal?
Do you have any offer's yet?

Looking forward to read back from you and I hope you can respond and answer my questions appropriately in your next e-mail.

I am glad I found this site first.

Just had the same thing happen from 512-575-9177
"i am presently in camp as a military man so am making this as a special birthday give for my son...send me the email address you use for the paypal account so i can pay for this now..."

If it sounds to good to be true, IT IS.

Received the almost identical email from Wesley Porter, E-5 Sergeant, US Army. The questions he asked were word for word as above. Wanted to pay with PayPal and have a hauler carrier come and pick up my motorcycle. Beware, as the Pay Pal Seller Protection Policy is void if the seller allows the item to be picked up. What probably happens is that he files a 'claim' with PP to get his money back, while I am out my money and my motorcycle. Be careful.

I gut got the same exact email. Same questions and everything.

i got one from tim walker who is on base for training lasting several weeks. phone number area code starts with 312. he said he was going to send me money paypal. I just let them talk and he declared not to be a scam. His email would arrive in spam. and what do you know. the usual spam mail. Spoof caught it and he tried to get me to send 900$ back. PFFFT get the hell out. They will try to lie about anything. I have read where people have lost their cars and money because they stole someones account and paid you. The car was picked up and all.

Ha! Colton just emailed me and he must have been demoted as now he is an E5!

I got the exact same email, but he used the name William Adams.

I had the similar e-mail yesterday. Wanted to buy my yacht I'm selling but insisted on more photos then an pick up agent will collect after I receive payment. I am in SA and insisted on the pick up agent paying me cash but scammer insisted on a PayPal payment. I smelled a rat and did more investigation and told him I'm reporting him and I havnt heard from him again. His name is White Anthony and he is working on offshore oilrig and he wants the boat as a surprise for his son. Hahaaaa. his e-mail address is dawweld8@ gmail.com

I got the same thing: Here is what the soldier told my husband and I :

Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE Droid ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Wilson K Date: Aug 16, 2017 4:56 PM Subject: Re: Hi sorry you couldn't get an email to me, should work now. Or just text! To: Yes Cc: Thanks for your response, I am sorry I am not available to view due to the nature of my job, I am in the United States Army and serve as a CBRN Specialist (74D). I want to buy this for future use. I am currently deployed wont be back till September. We are not allowed to make or receive calls frequently for security reasons but we have internet access and that is our major means of communication to the outside world. I am OK with your asking price and if you don't mind, I can only pay through PayPal at the moment be cause its the most secure way to make or receive payment online this is why I'll prefer using PayPal to pay you, all I need is your PayPal email to make the payment and if you don't have a PayPal account, its pretty easy to set up at  paypal. com. I also have a few questions for you. Whats its condition, any damages? Can I see a few closely taken pictures? Are you the original owner and what is your reason for selling? I hope you consider my offer. I am ready to buy, so you can take the add off Craigslist. I'll have a courier person come for pick up and storage after I make payment and money is in your hand. Thanks for understanding, hope to read from you soon

Thanks for your response, I am sorry I am not available to view due to the nature of my job, I am in the United States Army and serve as a CBRN Specialist (74D). I want to buy this for my Son as a Birthday Surprise gift and he doesn't know about it, .I am currently deployed wont be back till November. I am OK with your asking price and if you don't mind, I can only pay through PayPal at the moment because its the most secure way to make or receive payment online this is why I'll prefer using PayPal to pay you, all I need is your PayPal email to make the payment and if you don't have a PayPal account, its pretty easy to set up at www.paypal.com. I also have a few questions for you.

Whats its condition, any damages? Are you the original owner and Why are you selling it?
and last asking price?

I hope you consider my offer. I am ready to buy, so you can take the add off .
I'll have a courier person come for pick up and storage after I make payment and money is in your
hand. Thanks for understanding, hope to read from you soon

lol, I got basically the same message from a James wiltord, it reads: "Thanks for your response, I am sorry I am not available to view due to the nature of my job, I am in the United States Army and serve as a CBRN Specialist (74D). I want to buy this for future use.I am currently deployed wont be back till September .I am OK with your asking price and if you don't mind, I can only pay through PayPal at the moment because its the most secure way to make or receive payment online this is why I'll prefer using PayPal to pay you, all I need is your PayPal email to make the payment and if you don't have a PayPal account, its pretty easy to set up at www. paypal. com. I also have a few questions for you.

Whats its condition, any damages? Are you the original owner and what is your reason for selling?
and last asking price?

I hope you consider my offer. I am ready to buy, so you can take the add off Craigslist.
I'll have a courier person come for pick up and storage after I make payment and money is in your
hand. Thanks for understanding, hope to read from you soon"

OMG, I just listed a watercolor on craigs list and received the same request you just posted within minutes of my listing!

His name is Christopher Robert and his number is 832-650-2277. He wanted me to immediately remove my listing from criags list and consider my item sold to him. He kept demanding the transaction go thru paypal and asked the condition etc as you stated.

I told him to purchase it thru ebay since I listed it there also, but he did not want anything to do with ebay he said. ONLY PAYPAL. Pick up/shipping will be coordinated after funds are sent and item is shipped.

He demanded I give him all my contact information including my email and personal information.

Amazingly brash people out there!

I had one too, sounded real at first but after a few emails about the car I was selling he sounds like a scam. Says he's willing to send his "private courier" to pick it up.

Thanks for your understanding and swift response Nate,

Nice meeting you and I do appreciate the way you answered my questions!. I'm satisfied with it's condition and i believe i wont be disappointed. I want you to know am serious in purchasing it and am sure he's gonna love and enjoy it more than you did. Well it a very good idea to see what am buying my self but am a very busy type i have a private courier agent that will come for the pick up after the payment and sign all necessary documents transferring the name of ownership and signing of all paperwork will be done by the hauler agent on my behalf also i would love to assure you that the car wont leave your side until the money is in your account and clears i will be patient with you as am an honest man and a man of my word so once all this is done then we can now both schedule the pickup time and date.

I would have loved to send the pick up agent with the cash or cashier check but they don't deal with cash transaction between buyer and seller and i want you to know that PayPal is the best online payment and they protect their customer the both seller and buyer. My mode of payment is PayPal because i don't have access to my bank account online, but i have it attached to my PayPal account. Since I'm requesting this transaction to be done via PayPal, I will be responsible for all the PayPal fees/charges on this transaction, I can see you're new to the PayPal process and I'll be glad to put you through it. it’s pretty easy, safe and secure to open one. Just log on to www. paypal. com. I hope we can make this transaction as fast as possible. As I look forward hearing from you with your PayPal information as requested below.

Your PayPal email address:
PayPal Account user name:
Firm price for the car:
Home address as for the pickup/meeting location & cell phone#:

I am ready to purchase the car, so you can take the add off Craigslist and consider it sold to me and its new owner which is my brother.

Very Respectfully!

Just had almost the exact same email. I got a text from a mark saying to email his friend. And when I did he said his name was hank Gilbert in the Air Force. Thanks for your email,

First of all. My name is Hanks Gilbert. I'm in the United States Air Force ( 0-3 USAF) and I am currently not in town at the moment as I am currently in base and we are not allowed to make or receive calls frequently as phones communications are restricted, but we do have internet access and that is our major means of communication to the outside world. So let’s get back to business!

Well, I'm purchasing the truck for my brother as his birthday gift and he's not aware of me doing this because I am making it as a surprise for him. So can you assure me I won't be disappointed buying the truck. from you? Also, I do have a few questions I would love to ask about it.

What's the condition, Any damages?
Are you the original owner and why are you selling it?
Does it have any mechanical issues?
Can you send me more pictures?
How many miles does it have?
Do you have the title in hand?
Is there a loan on the title?
Do you have a verified account with PayPal?
Do you have any offer's yet?

Looking forward to reading back from you and I hope you can respond and answer my questions appropriately in your next e-mail

"Hanks Gilbert" contacted me with the exact same message. Thought it sounded too good to be true. Went checking for a scam and found out plenty. Responded by asking for a cashier's check--haven't heard back. Obviously I won't.

Don’t accept a cashiers check either! That is the same scam just different payment method. I had someone actually overnight me a fake cashiers check. Fortunately, they misspelled the name of the bank and the routing number didn’t match up. Good luck!

Thank you for posting. I was suspicious about someone who wanted to buy my car and started searching his name. He is still using hank.gilbert 01@ and still pulling the same scam. His email was verbatim as you had posted.

This exact same story happened to my husband! And he came SO CLOSE to falling for it.

Posted my vehicle on Craigslist SEMO. Within an hour got a text to my phone asking me to email Matthew Ballard. First emai gave lots of detail - E-5 Petty Officer, Navy, buying for brother's birthday. Details and syntax set up red flags. I responded answering their questions and asked about brother. Next email was "can't come in person" "car hauler will pick up but only uses PayPal" "oh, by the way, here's a link..." Lots of alarm bells ringing by this point and after checking here those concerns were confirmed. I asked for his CO Name Rank and contacts, I doubt that i will hear back from them. Thanks to everyone that posted here.

Same happen to
Me trying to sell my car in craigl list someone from the navy through paypal... when seems too easy is a scam!!!!

I pretty much got the same email this morning about 30 minutes after I posted my truck on Craigslist.

I recently posted a high end road bike and have had this kind of stuff happen. One asked for my location, I never give my address out for any reason to anyone. Another wanted to do the whole PayPal thing but i declined and offered to invoice them & accept payment through my Square card reader account, of course they declined. One wanted to set up for their shipper to pick up to take to a city 2 hours from me, I turned around & offered to take a road trip to drop it off myself but they never responded. I love giving them alternatives to their "dilemmas".

I guess these scammers are "changing", my guy is in the Marines! !!

I just got same thing 1 min after posting our equipment! Everything is a scam ! I got a fake cashier check last week but I'm was suspicious so I did have them check it out before i did anything !

I pretty much have the same offer word per word unless somebody can come over to your house and show you cash don't buy nothing don't trust any of that crap half of us are very technologically advanced enough to get on a computer don't kid yourself that you're smart enough to outsmart these people that have done it for years, insist on cash only Cold Hard Cash

I m so glad I read this before I make any transaction! Thank you

I got that exact same message with a different name today. Good thing to know it was a scam. Be careful!

Hah! I had this exact thing happen TWICE yesterday from two different people with this exact same story....so glad I looked it up online.

I just had one today. Name Justini Huffiness.It did feel right so I looked up scams and sure enough there it was. Thanks for the heads up. Didn’t, use the military story his was that he works in a rural area with no phone reception etc. Wants pay pal going to tell him only thru bank Tara Nefertiti.

Yep lol my guy was worded different but same scam but different number

This is my Paypal scammer as of May 13th, 2018- goes by the name Angela Wagner. Thanks I'm just asking about it to make sure its in good condition as im buying it for my CO worker as a  Gift and she doesn't know about it, so can you assure me i will not be disappointed? also no shipment involved as i have a mover that will come for it. Im okay with the price and condition,I can only pay you via one of the fastest and secure way to pay online (PayPal).. Do you have a PayPal account? just fill out the info below so I can work everything out! PayPal Email: Full Name: Firm Price: Phone#: Thanks Angie

I had this today a text message to say contact them on this email Great! please consider it sold as i am willing to pay your full asking price because i need to buy it for my cousin asap, i have read through the advert and i'm totally satisfied with it,sadly i would not be able to come personally to collect due to my hearing loss and me being on wheelchair. I would appreciate if you email me with more photos (if available) since i'm unable to see it in person. I have a courier agent that would help me to pick it up at your preferred location after you have received your money and i'll pay you via PayPal today.
Where is the pick up location so that i can inform the courier agent about it

I've just had exactly the same message about a car I have for sale!

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