You are here

Online sellers stung by scammers spoofing PayPal brand

Share this page

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

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, 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 if you’ve been stung by a PayPal spoof. The company wants to hear from you.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money


Watch out for Anna Josey (joseanna002 @gmail. com). I’m in Scotland and she/he is trying to scam me at this very minute. This has happened to me about 6 different times, all different names, different, but similar scenarios. They have to use PayPal, they sent too much money, can you send the money back but take off your payment as well as £100 as a goodwill gesture, they’ll send their couriers blah blah. DONT FALL FOR IT PEOPLE! I wouldn’t want to see anyone lose any amount of money over these lowlifes!

Ours was from somebody in the military serving their country buying for his son and did not have access to a bank account so would buy our caravan using PayPal and would I follow the link offered full price and PayPal fees .not a chance in hell.Told in reply pay by cheque and when funds clear pick up the caravan no more contact.

David harold trying to also scam me currently, in johannesburg South Africa. i advertised my item for sale on Gumtree.

OMW..... David Harold has just tried to scam me to!!! I just googled his email address and read all of this, Thank goodness I did. Can this David Harold not be reported??? He said exactly the same to me that he has said to everyone else. Wanting to buy my wedding dress. Cannot believe he can do this!!!

New message from: patricx60 (0)
“Good morning seller
Am Patricia Smith the buyer of your lovely item on eBay...........kindly send me your cell phone or text me Because I need to talk to you on phone before making the payment
530 346 3322........God Bless you“

Is this a scam? I’m 15 and this is my first time selling on eBay

I'm selling a van the email me and give me full price and ask me if I had a paypal account I said no he sent the INFO and he wants me to make a payment to the pickup guy before I get the money he said then I will get the money he put on paypal account for me

David Harold Buckler has also tried to scam me responding to an ad of mine on Gumtree. His first email sent from davidharold4111 @gmail. com is in bad English, and the second email with a California ID attached was written in Dutch... This is the google translated email below: ----------------------------------------------
Hello okay'm okay with the price. Am really happy with the condition. I am ready to pay your asking price as for the shipment, My company is responsible for the issuance of my data, transmitting the name of the property and signing all the necessary papers will be made by the fetch agent so you don t should there worry about., and to prevent damage please kindly contact me with your bank details as below, so you can go straight to the payment.
Name: Mr David Harold Home address: Bars City, ca 92111 Place: 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 retrieval: Total cost of the item: Thanks ............. Wait. ---------------------------------------------------
Watch out for David Harold Buckler!!!!

yesterday I had Neil Palmer send an eBay message including his email address which he asked me to reply to regarding a £2000 van I am selling. I asked him to phone, he replied saying he couldn't as he was deaf, said he would only pay by PayPal and send a courier to collect. I told him to bid on eBay--nothing further--so far

Last night received a text from a scammer 972-528-5527 and told me to email wife at alanm6497 @gmail. com. I picked up on it immediately that this was a scam. Tried to get my SUV and wanted me to set up a paypal ..also said a courier will come and get vehicle since she is disabled and limited access to funds. I told the no I will only do a cash transaction. No respond back.

Got one saying he wanted to buy our car for his father in Texas, USA. Same thing.... he could only use PayPal..... The email is billbuden1 @gmail. com. The name to send to Western Union for shipping company was:
Nombre: Jeffrey Dean Stief estado: Iowa ciudad: Ceder Rapid código postal: 52402 Country: U.S.A
Hopefully these scammers can be stopped! Fortunately we did not fall for it! Follow your gut instincts...

If I send someone my Paypal email address is there anyway they can scam me by just sending me money if I don't send them anything myself?

Just started a text conversation with Jordan. His number is 646.838.3627. He wants yo buy my BMW M3 of Craigslist and claims he will buy it through Paypal and has a courier for the pick up. What's funny is that he claims he can't come to the phone because he has bad reception. Lol.

Crooks! This crook tried to scam me out of my Harley as he tried to avoid using eBay for the transaction.

SgtRobertsanthony @gmail .com

I am Sgt currently deployed to a remote area until ? October 30. Can you assure me that it's in good state as it appears and that i will not be disappointed with it It is strictly no calls here due to security reasons, otherwise I would have called you to seal the deal,but i can actually try to use my phone applications to text you with my laptop.I have read through your ad and from what I have seen,it is priced favorably compared to others so I want you to consider it sold to me ''AS IS'' for the asking price but you have to assure me it is as described. I am comfortable paying you via PayPal to complete this transaction because of their security when it comes to online transactions. Let me have your PayPal details ( Account name,PayPal Email, Pick Address and Mobile #) so that I can initiate the payment. If you don't have a PayPal account kindly set one up because it is absolutely free. Furthermore, I will hire shipper that will come for the pickup. then lets proceed. Thanks‌.

I am at this moment having an email exchange with Katrina Harris who is in a wheelchair and has an eager courier waiting to pick up a brand new double oven for her....even although her first email asked if the washing machine was still for sale! It' s for her cousin you see, who doesn't have much and she is helping her out. Have told her i don't use paypal and lo and behold, i have just received an email with the paypal link.

BEWARE....of a Michael McGrace. Says he/she is an Oceanographer offshore. He or she is a PAYPAL SCAMMER.

I literally just had a "flight attendant" wanting to buy my listing from Craigslist. Asking via PayPal. I have her my and she said she needed my email as PayPal needed it to make sure it went into the right account. Thank God I saw this thread.

"Thanks for your response, i'm a Flight attendant and I won't be able to come for the pickup myself due to the nature of my work, but i have a mover who will handle the pickup and delivery to my Mom because i'm buying it as a surprise gift for her and i will be making the payment to you via PayPal. Kindly get back to me with your PayPal email so that i can make the payment into your account, then when you receive the money in your account today the pickup agent will be coming for the pickup tomorrow at time that will be convenient for you. Thanks and God bless you"

"I can see your name as (my name), PayPal is telling me to input your PayPal email so that there will not be any mistake in making the payment into a wrong account. I will be expecting your PayPal email so that i can complete this transaction. I will be expecting to hear from you, thanks and God bless you"

Quickly told her where to go.

I received this back from an advert I placed to sell my goods ... it follows the same line as some of these other posts so please beware and do not respond to links or give out any of your personal information . Kind Regards ... Phoenix 20

Thanks  for the response!   The price is a good buy for me... please remove the advert and consider it sold as i am paying your full asking price i have done thorough check on the advert and i'm fine with it,sadly i would not be able to come personally to view or collect it due to house bound went through throat cancer surgery and couldn't talk more but will be ok soon  but i have an 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 and pick up will start after you have cash your money ..if that is ok with you.
Where is the pick up location so that i can inform the agent about it now and send me your registered paypal email and name,so i can make arrangement for payment. I can also transfer from my paypal to your bank account. Kindly get back to me with your BSB number Account number and Account name .

Was selling an iPhone XS Max on eBay, I was already suspicious since the auction closed like immediately after posting with someone paying the buy it now price.

Buyers eBay account: ylenna2309
Account shows to ship to France but buyer emails saying they will send shipping address with payment. They say they are buying for their sister and want it sent to her in Nigeria and throw in another $100 for shipping. They say they will send payment next day, I receive an email disguised as if it were paypal from online_ safety_ notifier@ usa. com saying Stephanie Vardon has sent me payment for an eBay item. The payment will be on hold until tracking number is sent to customer service. They wanted package sent to a Dayo Smith in Lagos State Nigeria. Beware they were texting from (218)646-4342

Looks like my seller of a headboard on gumtree has something up his sleeve too. This is my email from him with a copy of his ID:

"Thanks for getting back to me, I'm from Finland and really
interested in buying the Item so am satisfied with the price and the conditions, I wont be able to come and inspect the goods due to my work right now my private courier will be coming for the pickup which is Parcel 2go Shipping Company. I'm requesting this transaction to be done via PayPal or E Bank Transfer, 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 to register safe and secured to open one. Just log on to http ://www. paypal. com and get your account easily with your email address Ok. So here is the details needed from you below: Name: PayPal Email address: Home Address: Cell Phone No: Amount: Many Thanks."

I've just had a NICOLL CARTY contact me and IT is a steward on a ship somewhere in the ocean so can't receive emails or calls .. IT was wanting to buy an unseen article I put on Gumtree.. Says it's a surprise for their Grandma and wanted my paypal address to send payment to. IT said it was sending a reliable courier to pick the item up. I just smelt a rat and was right THIS IS ONE BIG RAT. However I said cash only and still waiting to hear from the SHIP'S RAT. Some rotten people in this world but got them spotted in time.

selling a folding camper & someone has emailed saying I don't need to see it & I will pay full asking price & is arranging for a courier to pick up. Wants to pay thru paypal, then will collect? Is this weird or a scam?

Recent encounter:
I will not deal with courier company! Sorry. Try going a scamming someone else. Hide original message On Sunday, 7 October 2018, 09:43:27 GMT+1, Chema Fabio <fabio chema004 @gmail. com> wrote: Hello again, I am glad to inform you that i have made the payment! PayPal said that they have sent you a confirmation email so kindly check the inbox of your email. I had a little problem with the courier agent they said they can only schedule the pick up date and time after they receive their pick up fee in their head office via Bank transfer,but due to me being offshore i'm unable to get to send it. I added the £360 they charged for the pick up,you will receive the total sum of £1,310. You'll send £360 to them via Bank transfer today and here is the details needed for the transfer below: Name: Fastway Pickup Account number :28169769 Sort code :087199 Please let me know once you've sent the money so that i can make necessary arrangements.

Hi had a scammers proposal today. Name of Sue Ruby. Apparently works on an oil rig. Wanted my furniture selling on gumtree. Offered a PayPal link as she wanted to pay me full price. It sounded too good to be true!

Beware Jacob Lipton. Usual PayPal scam on a car I am selling.

This is a new way people are using eBay and PayPal. A woman haf A Target gift card and I never received. What she did was, use my zip code to find a local businesses. She sent it there with a tracking number. EBay and PayPal only looks at the zip code it was delivered to, not your address. I got a copy from postmaster show that the tracking number was deliver to a barbecue place about 5 miles from my house. Address to that business and I bet it was no gift card in that letter. That is a new way how to scam someone

What can these scammers do if u give them ur email address connected to ur PayPal??

I got this message from Taylor Singer.. SCAM. Thank god for this forum
“Hi, i thought you must have had some buyers who are interested in it, so i thought the best way to outbid them is by adding 800 Extra on top your price, I will not be able to come for the inspection my self due to my present work location but i have a Pick-Up Agent who will contact you with when and where the pick-up will take place, but that will be after have completed the Payment my self. You don't have to look for any other buyer am willing to buy it right away and have it transported to my parents in Ontario, I just need to make sure its in a good condition as it said on your add and i hope you understand my point because there is no chance for me to come for the inspection in person but am happy with all the details you listed on the add”

Hey Same thing happened with me. I put my ad for camera on letgo and a guy named maxwell immediately contacted me said that to give him my contact number. I did. He later asked for some pictures amd told he is buying it for close relatine in Nigeria. I told him I dont have charger for it and he said just ship it. He continuously forced me to make shipping at earliest and send me money through paypal right away. That was my first hint.

I still procastinated it 2 days and when I went to post office to ask for same the lady confirmed me that there is big scam in Nigeria and that you never get your money back. The guy literally threatened me to make shipping in morning or else he will file complaint with jail for 2 years. While I didnt receive any money even ! He sent me a fake mail by agent mike sending me a notice for same so i reconfirmed it here. Thankyou so much. All these comments make me feel so secure and thankyou for the lady at post office for warning me.

I'm selling a high-end piece of furniture - same scenario except insert, "flight attendant" SO HAPPY I FOUND THIS SITE to confirm my suspicions. Thank you

Just received the exact same email from davidharold41111. He wants to deposit money using paypal or ebank. Thank goodness I googled his name and found this site.

Good day. We were trying to sell furniture via gumtree in South Africa when we received an e-mail just not feeling right. I googled the e-mail address and came to this site where this e-mail address has shown up more than once. This is what we received:

Thanks for getting back to me, I'm from United State of America and really interested in buying the Item so am satisfied with the price and the conditions, I wont be able to come and inspect the goods due to my work right now my private courier will be coming for the pickup which is Parcel 2go Shipping Company. I'm requesting this transaction to be done via PayPal or E Bank Transfer, 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 to register safe and secured to open one. Just log on to www. paypal. com and get your account easily with your email address Ok. So here is the details needed from you below: From: davidharold 41111 @gmail. com Name: PayPal Email address: Home Address: Cell Phone No: Amount: Many Thanks.

Please be aware of this going around!!!

David Herold tried my today, his storry didnt make sence, i must pay shipping then the cash will be deposited into my account, so i decided to google david herold scams and thank God for you guys heads up, i appreciate it

Here we are in late Oct 2018 and I received the same “Christopher Earley” solicitation scam on a used car I listed on Craigslist and also Willing to pay full price, let’s use PayPal, was happy with the 10 photos I listed and the advertisement, so didn’t need to send someone over to look at the car. That was the big tell to me—you don’t send over $10k to someone to buy a car without inspecting it or taking it to your own mechanic. He used a 303 area code, so I googled his name in CO and found a fellow—I asked him if he was that Chris Earley, and he said no. We did a search for “craigslist fraud Chris Earley”, and this whole thread came up. Thanks, FTC. Thanks, each of you. It certainly is not hard to fall for this!

Same thing here, David Harold Buckler, Barstown, CA, even sent me an ID. Too much info, no negotiation.

Here's another:Oh I'm presently assigned as the Director of Safety for Air Combat Command, headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA. I've been here for some time and I'm responsible for implementing the command's flight and weapons safety and more, I must say it is tasking but I love my country. For this deal,? I won't be able to come for inspection, but have a pickup agent who will collect and handle paperwork on my behalf. I also request this transaction be done via PayPal and the PayPal charges are on me, so I will like to proceed with payment. Do let me know if you have a PayPal account?

Sold something on eBay and person said he'd pay me through paypal and not ebay (first time selling). He sent my paypal invoice (fake) and said payment will arrive once i send tracking order number. Package arrived to him but my money didnt. Someone help. Were talking 500 dollars here :((((((( IM NOT LOSING 500 FOR NOTHING. I WONT LET THIS GO BY.

Got this email from everett
Thanks for your email i'm okay with the price and hope all these Bags are still in good conditions as you stated it, because i really which to be there for check up but i can't due to my disabilities,i loss my hearing and being on a wheelchair but regarding the payment i can only pay via PayPal at the moment and I will be responsible for all the PayPal fee/charges on this transaction with extra $30 fee for keeping the item for me and got it deleted from the site, which I will also make arrangement for having the item from you as soon as you received the payment.Waiting for you to send me your PayPal email so i can pay in right away and also include your address in your reply. .Please get back to me with this Information 1.The Price in Figure . 2.Your PayPal Full Name. 3.Your Paypal E-mail address. 4.Your phone number. Hope to read from you soon

I just had this happen today. I posted a bunk bed on Craigslist and within a few hours I received a text from an odd area code asking questions about the bed. Why I was selling? How many owners? What condition? Re-confirm asking price? More pictures please?
I answered the questions but then quickly researched this and found this forum. The person stated they were good with the asking price and conditions and wanted my email address to send payment via PayPal ASAP. When I asked about their location and pick up they simply said their delivery driver would pick up after payment posted. I responded back that it sounded like a scam and they should know that my PayPal has no bank info or credit card info nor any money on it as I never really use it.......needless to say I never heard back!

I just had simonbonea4 @gmail. com wanting to purchase my used BMW rims advertised on Kijiji for the asking price, is working at "Mining Outskirts of USA with my Company euro max resources", unable to come but will send an agent to pick it up & insisting I set up a PayPal account. I asked for an e-transfer instead, but he has no access to his bank account. He texted me & asked me to send him an email rather than respond directly to the kijiji ad. I immediately thought it strange that someone would want rims shipped from Canada to the US. So glad I did a bit of research.

Just got this one today: Hello, thx for getting back to me, i'm a rotary drill operator and currently offshore, so i won't be able to come for the inspection due to the nature of my work.i'd appreciate if you email me with more closeup pics for a better look since i won't be be able to see this in person, but i have a mover who is gonna come to your location only after payment has been made and cleared, so i've chosen to have this done via paypal as it's the easiest and safest way to pay online, i have a few questions for you below and i want you to be honest with me where are you currently located? what's its present condition? hope no issues? are you the first owner? why are you selling it? since when have you been using it? what's your firm price? you got a paypal acct? do get back to me asap. thx.

Paypal not always protect you.
You have to be careful with paypal. About two years ago i surprised with a multiple transactions in my paypal account (Selling and buying). My credit card was prepaid and fortunately that time was insufficient amount on it. i got an sms inform about my balance was insufficient and directly i opened my PayPal and found these fake transactions. i inform paypal about this and i opened cases. It was 400€ demanding from my account to a multiple accounts and paypal solve this to 25€ and they told me you have to pay this. My account was Zero and i told them i have to pay for scammers. then i close my PayPal because they were not safe.
So be carful from this. Now i use direct Visa and my Bank protect me.

Damn that's scary!

I have one emailing me right now regardinga car we are selling, I dont have a Pay pal account but he insists we need to set one up immediately. I am concerned as he now has our names and email address, do I need to delete my email Account?

I had one last night.
Disabled lady wanted to buy my second hand dining table but couldn't pick up herself due to her disability. Said she had transferred my money for table and courier costs to my paypal. Once i had paid courier via bank transfer the money would be in my paypal acct. All looked very genuine until she started to demand transfer was made immediately. Luckily first bank acct details she gave me failed. Im so lucky and feel so foolish now. She is still contacting me saying she isnt a fraud and i need to contact paypal on behalf of her because the money has left her acct.
Mabel Anderson she called herself

Scammer contacted me right away after posting a flatbed trailer for sale offering to pay full price without looking at it. Asked me if a 2004 trailer had dents or scratches and asked if the transmission had been services. LOL. I replied to this wanna be scammer that it did have dents and scratches and reminded that it was a 2004 and that flatbed trailers do not have transmissions. HA HA HA. He then offered full price plus $500 commission for setting up a pay pal account. I set it up and the communication continued back and forth but could never even get me a pay pal confirmation that the $15,500 was in my account even though he said it was done. I ended up replying " Nothing yet maybe you got my email wrong or maybe you could not create a spoofed pay pal account. You are not very good at scamming someone are you? Is this your first time ?"
Be warned and stay alert. I got my degree in Information Technology and had set up a trap for this person with a fake email and a fake pay pal account to track his ip and information to turn him into the authorities but play it safe and just avoid this type of scam. Follow Craiglists' warnings and advise
The number that texted me was (832)804-5886 apparently from Houston but remember that anyone can get a fake number very easily using apps.

I just received an email receipt saying that I made a purchase online using PayPal. Which I didn't. Gave the name and address of the person it's going to but none of my info. Is this a scam? It feels like one. I've been getting apple scams for a while now, it sounds just like one of those.

We had a buyer contact us last night about a motorcycle asking us to ship it to him. We sent a PayPal request for money to him and “PayPal” sent my husband an email with instructions for shipping that neither of us really understood. It talked about apple gift cards and had too many sleeping errors so we assumed it was a scam. The guy got really upset when we told him we cancelled to request and he “reported us to the FBI”. Glad my skepticism paid off.

I currently have a boat & trailer listed on Boat Trader. I’ve been emailing back & forth with a guy named Roger Ellis who is a subsea engineer and currently offshore so he cannot physically inspect the vessel himself, blah blah blah, long story short it’s pretty much the same thing I’m reading here. He wants to pay via PayPal and has a “mover” who will also sign the paperwork as his agent.....idk it just felt off. As desperate as I am for the quick cash and wanted to believe this was legit, I’m so glad I googled “PayPal scams”. Not sure what would’ve happened had I gone through with this :(

You'd think he'd at least use a new name. He's trying the same BS with me.

I just tried to purchase a pair of Coast Guard running shoes, and the seller had a paypal account. It turned out to be a fraud, called paypal and was told I couldn't do a dam thing unless I had a paypal account. Paypal is the fraud here and needs to be shut down by the government.


Leave a Comment