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!

Mine is apparently working for New Zealand Oil and Gas and cannot view the article because he is at sea. He asked me " where is located" and his name is Gabriel Smith, very bad English for a Smith. Also sent a link for a pay-pal account. Has a very eager courier to pick up the item though!

Hey I'm dealing with one now this very moment, wanting to buy my secondhand furniture, same story as yours but buyer's name is Janet Nichols..... I emailed a copy of the PayPal payment receipt to phishing@ paypal and now waiting for further instructions from PayPal.

I have been contacted by Janet Nichols too. Same story, working for a NZ gas & oil company but wants to purchase our furniture for a holiday home. Will arrange pick up by agent but the delivery agent needs $950 upfront and as buyer is off shore and has no means of payment can they please deposit the extra funds into my paypal account and I can pay them through western union transfer. Why would someone pay $950 for delivery of second hand furniture that is worth only a couple of hundred dollars? Hmmm...

Same story! My guy is currently submerged in the submarine off the coast of Connecticut. He would come to the surface for several weeks. But he trusts that the car I am selling is in the condition I describe.

Here's one, but can't understand his reasoning. Says he is a Carnival Cruise steward and will have his "mover" p/u item for sale but doesn't accept PayPal or cash therefore the "steward" will deposit extra funds for the p/u. Well, if I receive the extra funds for the mover, how would I pay him? The mover doesn't accept cash and if I write a check or pay by CC, so could too, the buyer! The item weighs less than 20 lbs. I can have it delivered to Florida via UPS in 5 days for about $100. The "steward" was going to add $450 for the $500 item. After confronting him on this, he never contacted me back. # (786) 528-8093.

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.

This is what I just received.. About a wedding dress for sale. Too much unsolicited detail in the request and just too eager to pay!
On 08 Jun 2018, at 13:20, David Harold <davidharold41111 @ gmail.com> wrote:
Hello,Thank you for your prompt response,am really satisfied with the price and condition. I'm ready to pay your asking price including, I work as a marine engineer with Italian marines on bermuda sea, so i wont be able to come and do things personally, my shipping company will be coming for the pickup and named Parcel 2go Courier...the contract is strictly no call due to the lack of reception on the sea area. But I'm able to access email anytime as we will make use of laptop so my only quickest payment option is PayPal or PayPal to Bank as i can send money via PayPal anytime and to bank account so since I'm requesting this transaction to be done via PayPal or Bank, i will be responsible for all the PayPal charges on this transaction and if you don't have an account with PayPal, its pretty easy, safe and secured to open one. Just log on to http://www. paypal. com. I hope we can make the purchase as fast as possible so i need your PayPal Full name and email address so i can send the money now.

Name: Mr David Harold Home Address: Bars town, ca 2111 City: Califonia Country: United state of America Here is the paypal information needed below. Name: PayPal Email address: Home Address: Cell Phone No: Amount: Many thanks

We almost fell for it as well, same email address and modus operandi:

" from: David Harold date: Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 2:36 PM

Hello, Thank you for your prompt response,am really satisfied with the price and condition. I'm ready to pay your asking price including, I work as a marine engineer with Italian marines on bermuda sea, so i wont be able to come and do things personally, my shipping company will be coming for the pickup and named Parcel 2go Courier...the contract is strictly no call due to the lack of reception on the sea area.

But I'm able to access email anytime as we will make use of laptop so my only quickest payment option is PayPal or PayPal to Bank as i can send money via PayPal anytime and to bank account so since I'm requesting this transaction to be done via PayPal or Bank, i will be responsible for all the PayPal charges on this transaction and if you don't have an account with PayPal, its pretty easy, safe and secured to open one. Just log on to   paypal. com. I hope we can make the purchase as fast as possible so i need your PayPal Full name and email address so i can send the money now. Name: Mr David Harold Home Address: Bars town, ca 92111 City: Califonia Country: United state of America Here is the paypal information needed below. Name: PayPal Email address: Home Address: Cell Phone No: Amount: Many thanks "

With us he also had a copy of Mr Harold David Buckler (the last name on the licence card) Be careful!

I almost fell for this one as well.

Same story with the ID attached.

Same companies used on his request for shipment.

Same name being used.

The same guy David Harold is at the moment trying to scam me. I was immediately suspicious that someone called David Harold wants to buy my oakley goggles for 100€ since I live in Finland... The email he sent was written in poor Finnish. Thank god I googled david harold 41111 and found this. Now I know for sure that I can block him.

I'm selling some used items of rather expensive furniture and getting a request to buy from someone overseas. Different name (a Bettina Nesselrath, Germany) and reason, but along similar lines with wanting to send an agent to collect and make the purchase through PayPal. How far could one take the discussion before I'm exposed to real risk? If it goes as far as her depositing money in my PayPal account which I verify by logging in myself. And holding on to the items until at least then, what do I have to lose? As far as I understand the terms of PayPal, if the transaction is made as a private funds transfer, there is no reversing it once complete? Appreciate any insight into this.

He is still busy, received mine today with a copy of California ID.
davidharold41111 @gmail. com Hello, Am really satisfied with the condition. I'm ready to pay your asking price so about the shipping, My shipping company will be responsible for the issue of my details,transferring the name of ownership and signing of all necessary paperwork will be done by the pick up agent so you don't have to worry about that.,And so as to prevent the damages So kindly get back to me with your Bank details like this below so can proceed with the payment immediately.

Name: Mr David Harold Home Address: Bars town, ca 92111
City: Califonia Country: United state of America Here are the details needed for the payment to be made: Account Name:
Account Number: Bank Name: Country: Home address for the pick up Thanks.............Am waiting.

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

Thank you so much for posting this, I found this blog just in the nick of time!!! Also White Anthony at dawweld8@ gmail.com wanting to buy our Daimler as a surprise for his son.....was a wee bit suspect with his bad English and "pick up Agent". If I hear from him again, I have a good mind to ask him about the yacht he was going to buy for his son ha,ha. I'm also in SA so this guy gets around, watch out guys.

Super. Got involved with this a couple days ago. From: 19287078140. Am interested in your Harley an di am okay with the price. What is the pick up address as I wont be able to come for it myself because I am serving in the US Army and currently been deploy to Fort Huachuca Military Base Arizona. I'm buying it for my Dad as he's birthday gift which comes up soon but I will hire a shipper who will come for the pick up and he will handle the title for me as soon as we are done with the payment part of the transaction,i will be paying you via PayPal and kindly get back to me with your PayPal email then i can get on the payment as soon as I'm back from the base and we can surely arrange for the pickup after the payment clears into your account. Thnx Glad I saw this. Told him I am onto him so he better watch it.

lol i just got the same exact message. he added to disregard any similar messages i may have received as he has many friends looking out for him also but to deal with him directly instead. the nerve of some people..

Exact same message but the rank changed to captain. the list of questions is exactly the same, date today is May 26, 2018

I just received an almost identical response to an ad I put on Craigslist to sell my motorcycle. Glad I came across this.

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!

I received the same e-mail just a different name! William D. Adams!

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