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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

it happened to me I was scammed with davidharold41111 @ , I was so stupid in falling for this and lost a total amount of R510 000 south African rands and as I speak with you this person is still emailing me for more money, im trying to see if I can hack him by doing some research.

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 am going through the same thing right now. I received the same exact e mail. I am selling a motorcycle I got a response from sergeant David mills from the us army. Thank God I did some research before proceeding.

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 got the same thing today - Eric Jones 323 area code
Thanks for your response, I am sorry I am not available to view due to the nature of my job,. I want to buy this for my son birthday Gift. I am currently deployed wont be back till June. 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 . 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.

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!

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.

we received this message almost word for word about our boat. he even had the guts to text us twice in the middle of the night. SCAMMERS

This is a y last email sound familiar

I received the information and I do appreciate the way you answered my questions. I’m satisfied with the conditions and believe I won’t be disappointed buying this from you. Also, I want you to know I am serious in purchasing this from you and am pretty sure my brother is going to cherish and enjoy it more than you did. Well, it's a very good idea to see what am buying myself but I am a very busy type due to the nature of work as am currently deployed. I won’t be able to come to see it or inspect it in person(I can trust you with my money) I have a hauler carrier agent that will be coming for the pick up/storage and signing of all necessary documents ( paperwork/transferring of ownership) will be done by the hauler agent on my behalf.

I would love to assure you that the is not leaving your side until the money is being cleared successfully. I will be patient with you..am an honest man and a man of my word, so once everything is completed then we can both schedule a suitable time and date for the pickup arrival. BTW, I'd have loved to send the hauler agent with a 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 both the seller and buyer.

PayPal is just like paying into a bank account once the payment is sent you will receive a confirmation email from PayPal which will instruct you on how to get the money transferred from your PayPal account into your Bank account or Card. I hope we can make this transaction as fast as possible. I will be responsible for the PayPal fees/charges on this transaction.

I look forward to hearing from you with your PayPal information as requested below.

PayPal e-Mail Address:
PayPal Account User Name:
Firm Price:
Home Address/ Pickup location Info:
Cell Phone#:

I am ready for this purchase, so you can take the add off and consider it sold to me and its new owner which is my brother(Kevin). It takes a minute to get an account with them since you don't have one. Just log on to ''paypal.com'' PayPal is the faster, safer way to send money, make an online payment,and receive money so just create a personal account with them all needed for registration is your address and contact. Keep me updated once the registration is completed so I can walk you through the next steps.

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

Same thing is happening right now to me. Wants to buy my motorcycle. Geoffrey Fernandez US Army Paratrooper E6 wants to purchase it as a Birthday gift for his brother. It’s a surprise and he offered me 1200 more than my asking price. Carrier agent will pick it up and sign all necessary paperwork. Wants my PayPal account number, email address, phone number, name on the account, and home address.

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.

Received same type of text and email today from Justin Huffiness. Says he lives out of state and wants to pay by pay pal. I said no. Next offer was cashiers check. He/she never did tell me how they planned on picking it up. It ended when I said cash in exchange for merchandise picked up locally.

Justin Huffiness also tried to scam me. Same sort of email. Offered me full price on my expensive item for sale, didn't really care for photos, and something felt off to me. He stated he was going to send a hauler to pick the item up. Offered to pay only through PayPal as he is in the air force and can't pay any other way. I told him to forget it, and he sent me a fake PayPal payment email the next day anyway, stating I needed to go to Western Union to pay his hauler before I would receive payment. I let him know his name is all over as a scammer, that I reported him and sent his fake emails to PayPal and to not contact me again. I hope this helps someone out. His number was 615-205-5464

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'm dealing with this NOW...Ok...So can i pay you through it? I will pay for the PayPal charges and also wait till the money clear and wait until you withdraw the money from your PayPal account first before pick up, are you okay with that?
And I will arrange for a hauler to come for the pick up once the payment has been made and clear and they will schedule a pick up date and time with you.
(He's stationed in GA at a sub base. I'm in VB.)
**ANYBODY HELP?**

looks like a scam..

This is what I received in response to an ad to sell our RV: " im name is scott cregan I'm in the Us Army and Chief Warrant Officer 4 at Us army . Army Fort Campbell Rank (E5) but I am presently not in town at the moment as I am currently at base and we aren't allowed to make or receive calls frequently as phone communications are being 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 Forester for my son as his
Presentation Birthday Gift, for is it but he isn't 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 purchase it you And also, I do have a few questions I would love to ask about it."
I emailed back and asked what a "presentation birthday present is."

15 mins ago this appened with me
He was insisting on sending shipping money today only to complete transaction
Good thing i denied and mailed spoof@ paypal. com his details !
I asked him why he sent shipping charges its not my business!
I told him to claim his refund as I haven’t recieved any money ! His said it cant be reversed! Nathan Fugersan +1 (432) 294-5120
Beaware guys!

Holy goodness, I am so glad I looked this up.. For some reason it just seemed a little strange that someone would offer up so much info to buy a motorcycle... Received an email from Nolan Mills, captain positioned in the disarming unit buying it for his brother's birthday.

I am getting a message like this right now I res flags in my head are waving like you wouldn't believe I wish you could catch these people at this point and shut them down.

Sound good I'm just asking about it to make sure it's in good condition, Am stationed at Ohio. I would have loved to see this item but am presently busy here at the base but I have a private pick up agent that will come for it at your location after the payment is cleared. I am Okay with your advert price and I will as well be sending your money via PayPal asap. Do you have PayPal account so that I can proceed with the payment? I will be deploying a pickup firm as soon as we have completed and finalized this deal via PayPal. Kindly get back to me with your PayPal info and also have the posting deleted Asap.

Can you assure me I won't be disappointed buying this from you once again? Also, I do have a few questions I would love to ask about it.

1. What is the PayPal e-mail address?
2. How long have you own it & What are your reasons for selling it?
3. What is your asking price ?
4. Do you have any offer's yet?
5. Pickup location Info ?
6. Direct Phone number

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

srg james brooks got you beat this ones a sargent

My scammer used the name James Blond, how lame, and claimed to work at an army base. He insisted in paying by PayPal for my vehicle I was selling. He rushed the whole deal. Sounded suspicious as soon as he accepted the asking price with very few arguments. His phone number is: (701)289-2430. Thankfully he stunk so bad that I stopped the deal before it even started. Be careful with these scammers!

I posted and high price item on craigslist and within an hour I had the guy texting me and saying he wanted the product and he could only pay with paypal. I was kind of nervous when he was so willing to buy a large piece of logging equipment for his sons 1st birthday so I googled paypal/craigs lists scams and found all of the same type of emails that they are sending. Shame on these people they must not have any morals whatsoever. I sent him a email saying that I will need his email that is connected to his paypal so that I can send him a invoice with specific dates that the equipment was to be picked up by and that all sales were final and as is and if not picked up within the specific time then he would forfeit the sale of the machine and would be out of all money paid for the equipment. not sure if this wills care him off or not.

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!

Bianca Grove Today at 11:33 AM To Message body Thanks , am just trying to make sure its in a good condition, I would love to purchase, I'm satisfied with your price,I'm requesting this transaction should be done via PayPal. I'm a flight attendant at AA so my schedule tends to be a little crazy and I'll be flying back & forth, i won't able to deal in person, so cash is not an option for me... but i have a Mover that will be coming for the pickup after the payment has been made and cleared.

From: craigslist  Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2017 11:33:20 AM To: Subject: Re: Lenox china Tuxedo pattern - $2500 (Sandy Springs) It is all excellent. It has always been hand washed so there is no wear on the gold.

I told her to send the money to my email address at PP. Never heard back. Does AA fly to Nigeria?

The same exact person just tried to scam me using the SAME message. I told her cash or no deal. Never heard back.

I just received the exact Craigslist response from 'Joani' (408) 618-2155... word for word. Sellers beware.

Getting more sophisticated asked what condition the article was in. Strange number so I looked up number under google and found multiple complaints. Used name Zoe.

And me! Via Motors.co.uk for my car here in London.

"Thanks for getting back to me, whats the recent condition and also why u selling it,are u the original owner,how recent are the pics on the ad?
I am OK with your asking price and if you dont mind, I can only pay through PayPal at the moment due to my work and pickup agent is avail to come and pick it up after payment made,all i need is the email u use in setting it up and ur name so that i can make the payment and u will be notify by paypal as soon as am done.arrangement for the picking follows as paypal will update u on that after transaction completed"

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