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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.

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Jobs & Making Money

Comments

Selling some furniture on craigsList here is what "Richard Walsh" replied to my item for sale post.

"Thank you for getting back to me.Can you assure me that is in good state and that i will not be disappointed with it?I'm ready to pay your asking price and to be honest, i want to buy it for my new moving house. I am marine biologist that works on the sea at the moment,will pay you through my PayPal account.Please get back to me with your PayPal name and PayPal email account so that i can make the payment asap ,I have an pick up agent that will come for it after i make the payment."

Sounded really fishy. Maybe because he is out at sea!

We are being scammed at this moment by someone saying they are in the Military and on the job.
They are trying to buy a caravan unseen and at the asking price as a surprise present for their son.
We were alerted by their strange use of English..

Adam Justin just tried scamming me. Did pretty much everything that is commented on this page.

"Hi, this is your boss from work. [I check the email address. It's correct.] I'm on vacation. Could you buy some iTunes gift cards for my niece's birthday and I'll pay you back? [I go buy the cards to the tune of $300]. And can you send me the codes on the back of the cards so I can send them to her? Can you do that now, please? I'm in a meeting so I can't take care of it myself."

I pause to ponder. Hmmm.... on vacation. In a meeting. Does not compute. I call work and discover that my boss's email address was hacked. Sigh.

I try to return them to the store. They won't take them back because it was a legitimate sale. II don't get that. I call my credit card company. They won't punish the store for something a hacker did to me. The store wasn't at fault. Sigh. The cards are now for sale on craigslist, and scammers are trying to weasel them away from me by asking if they can pay thru PayPal. I keep repeating, "Cash or money order, as I said in my ad. Mail me a money order." "Please send more photos, they ask. Please, I can pay you thru Venmo. They keep trying to talk me down. I keep repeating. "Cash, or money order. No exceptions. We're done." Maybe someday I'll sell those cards. Wow.

this must be a fraud....my ad wasn't even on line when i got this email....kind of scary as i don't know how he knew i was selling the car! obviously he never read the ad.....plus the poor English/punctuation, etc... are the first thing i noticed and knew it was a fraud!!!!

Thanks for the mail,
I am glad to read from you. My name is David, a geothermal engineer from BP Exploration & Production.
It's my pleasure to contact you regarding the Ad you listed for sale. Though, your selling price seem pretty fair enough, but I'd like to ensure it's in good condition, cos am new to buying online. I won't be able to take a proper inspection at it myself nor make calls due to my current location(offshore) & work schedule.

Here are few things I'd like to know before I proceed with the purchase.

(1) Are you the original owner?
(2) When have you been using it?
(3) Any mechanical issue(s) please?
(4) How much repair/restoration is needed? What's the mileage?
(5) I'd like to know your reason for selling?
(6) Please confirm the selling price? I will appreciate more close up pics
(7) Lastly, can I be rest assured I won't be disappointed with the purchase?

Best Regards.
David M. Weingart

I think I just got some thing, Carol Walker wants to buy my motorcycle
as a surprise gift for her cousin, can pay only buy using PayPal and a shipping company is ready to pick it up....

I had exact same thing from a Nancy Farmer wanting to buy my car as a surprise gift for her brother, pay via paypal and shipping company to pick up. And for me for forward extra funds via Moneygram to the shipper.....have called them out on it, wonder if I will get a reply?

90% wording. Car is surprise for his brother. Asked me to arrange shipping for an additional $1000. I said no. The weird thing is, I could not search on google after I opened his email. I did not click on anything, just responded. I wanted to google "can you be scammed on paypal". Half of his emails went to my spam folder. His wife Kathy, texted me and told me her husband is interested but can only communicate through email. My brother was in the military so this was not surprising. Kathy's phone # 704-336-0295 Larry's email: larrylitton001

I just got this email in response to an item I posted for sale on Craigslist. Sounds a lot like the one cited here. I was suspicious because it's hard to believe he would want to give his son a living room set as a surprise for his birthday. Plus he asked me questions that were unnecessary because I answered them in the posting. I was a little leery of having his "currier" pick it up. Sellers beware!
" Erick Jones 9:53 PM (1 hour ago) to me

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 and i wont be back till September. What is your final 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.

What is the 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 agent that will come for the pick up and storage after I make payment and money is in your
hand. Thanks for understanding, hope to read from you soon"

I nearly got into this, but read comments from your lovely people and stopped just in time:

"Great!please consider it sold and take the ads down off gumtree,i am buying it for my son and i am ready to pay your full asking price, i have read through the advert and i'm totally satisfied with it and i will be glad if you can get back to me fast,sadly i won't be able to come for the inspection and pick up due to my disabilities,i loss my hearing and being on a wheelchair but I have a courier agent that will help me to pick it up at your preferred location .
Regarding the payment..i cant make an online banking am having technical issue with my bank and i can only access my PayPal account at the moment and I will be responsible for all the PayPal fee/charges on this transaction kindly get back to me with your PayPal email,Phone Number and the pick up location so that i can inform the courier agent about it now?
Awaiting your reply soon..."

Playing with my compassionate feelings and using the "disabled" reasons. Clever with "lost hearing", so that I can't speak to them over the phone....

Be alert my friends! Be alert...

I just received an email from Sgt Brooks out of Ohio. Asking alot of questions about location, condition of product. PayPal address and more. Thankyou for posting this. Saved me a headache.

I had a Master Sargent in the Air Force, and 2 other clowns that wanted to do the Pay Pal dance...Low life dogs..

I advertised my car for sale on Gumtree and recieved a email off PASCALINE LAURRIE stating they wanted to buy it asap, but had a hearing impediment and also had recently had heart surgery but wanted to send a courier and wanted my paypal to collect car. clearly a scam , very pushy further emails received.

Here is one sorry I got yesterday.

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 and i wont be back till September. What is your final 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.

This is email #1 from "Captain David Mills" :

First and foremost, I would like to introduce myself being in the military. My name is David Mills, but I go by my last name. I serve for the United States Army, I am currently not in town at the moment. I am the Captain of the The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) I am deployed and stationed out of Eglin AFB in Valparaiso, FL. We are not allowed to make or receive calls frequently as phones communication are limited 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 it for my brother as a birthday gift and he's not aware of me doing this because am making it a surprise. 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 you about it.

Are you the first owner?
Does it have any mechanical issues?
Would love to know the reason why selling it?
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.

This is email #2 after i responded :
I received the information and I do appreciate the way you answered my questions. I’m satisfied with it condition 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 work/deployed so I won’t be able to come see it or inspect it in person as I have a hauler carrier agent that will be coming for the pick up/storage and signing of all necessary documents, ( paperwork and transferring of ownership) will be done by the hauler agent on my behalf. Also, I would love to assure you that it won't leave your side until the money is being cleared into your account. I will be patient with you as am a honest man and a man of my word, so once everything is completed then we can both schedule the hauler arrival 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.

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 will be responsible for all the PayPal fees/charges on this transaction & I hope we can make this transaction as fast as possible.

I look forward 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 to purchase it, so you can take the add off Craigslist and consider it sold to me and its new owner which is my brother. PayPal is just like paying into bank account.

----Fraudsters always have a story to tell----

God bless you ive almost got fooled,damn scammers...much love from Serbia. ❤️

I sold a watch to a person in Ireland.
I used Paypal for payment
I had a “Paypal” email informing me
Payment had been received & would be released on proof of postage.
This done NO MONEY!!
Scam
I contacted Ebay & Paypal
The Fraud Squad, Gloucestershire Police the Garda in Dublin The post office to stop delivery of the parcel.
To be honest a total waste of time UK Police couldn’t do anything
IRISH Police tried but failed.
Paypal shrugging their shoulders saying it’s my responsibility
A Lot of money’s gone What do you have to do?

Just got one from a Jonathan asking if I could send him my number to PayPal me the amount I was asking for the item + $150 more for shipping because of his friend that lived in Florida that wanted it!! Almost fell for it till I realized something seemed too good to be true, so I looked it up. Confronted him and he left me alone since.

I received an email from PayPal wanting my card info ....don't think so scammers

I have been scammed throught paypal, as a seller i sent an expensive item. Was immediatly blocked and a dispute made saying i didnt send as advertised... after wining the case and case closing. The buyer sent back a cheap battery operated fan and claimed to have sent the item back, case was reopend and paypal opted to favour the win to the buyer... not only has he/she been refunded theyve stole my expensive item. Be careful paypal seem to be ok with people scamming and not listening to the seller!

Watch out for a Ingrid young I am selling a debs dress and looked for Payment via paypal also agreed to all my conditions would send courier etc thanks to this site I felt uneasy and checked this out
Be careful

I have a car for sale on Craigslist. Yesterday I was contacted via gmail which I never use that his name is Joe Bruce and wants to buy my car for the asking price. He is an engineer working on a power plant in NY and can only use Paypal for payment as that is all he has access to since he is in a remote location. Once funds have been transferred he will arrange to have the car picked up. The whole thing just made no sense. I mean I am in Dallas, TX area, how did he even know I am selling a car?

Ok...how do I get Pp to QUIT NOTIFYING ME THAT I HAVE HUGH AMOUNTS OF MONEY READY TO GET?? ITS CONSTANT...SCAM I KNOW..BUT irritating help me get rid of them

Every time I use PayPal to purchase things after a few weeks I get unauthorised transactions going through I’m so fed up of getting a new bank card I’m not using PayPal no more

I was trying to sell some expensive sub-woofers and this guy says he wants to but them but he is in the military and a 74D CBRN specialist and is deployed so he wants to pay through Paypal, and if you don't have account it's easy click on this link. Well I had a Paypal account so I told him sure go ahead, gave him my e-mail, then he wants my address to pick subs up, Ok gave him my address, then he sends e-mail saying he made payment through Paypal. Ok I think, then I get an e-mail from Service@ Paypal. com>onlinedetailsfunds @ and I thought it was from Paypal. It said I had to go to Wal Mart and spend $350.00 for the transport fee for the courier who was to pick up subs, well I knew that sounded suspicious so I told the guy I don't have any money to do that and he says he has already transferred the funds to my account, and he did not, and I told him to pay the courier and when they pick up subs he can tell Paypal to send me the money, and he says he can't do that and the money has already been transferred and could not be reversed, and it was not. It took me about 10 mins to figure out this was a scam. Look at the email address- Paypal replys to you as service@ paypal. not Service@ Paypal. com, and there were a lot of typos, misspelled words, and grammar use so this too made me see it's a scam. Hope this helps others to not get scammed.

TWICE now, I have ordered something from QVC and immediately after posting the amount, TWO charges appear on my AMEX account: one for $1.00 and another for a larger amount.

This suggests that my AMEX information is being stolen from QVC by someone from PAYPAL, or using my information to create a PAYPAL account against my AMEX account.

I have had no luck getting to PAYPAL customer service on this! The link in the website just fails!

Someone sent me 500$ it said it’s sent but in my emails it says I need to get a google play card and activate t to receive that money am i being scammed?

If you buy a card like a Google play card, and tell someone the numbers on the card, they take all the value from the card. You lose all the money you spent to buy the card.

Scammers tell people to buy prepaid cards, and say they will get their money later, but that's a lie. If you tell a scammer the numbers from a card, he's going to disappear, and you won't get your money back.

Do not send or ship any item until funds Have cleared your
Account . Don’t be scammed by pay pal saying they will
Release funds when tracking number is sent an picture of scan code . This simply is not true . I tested it . The results . They never released funds . Buyer has package 4 Days later an I have not been paid . My account says payment is pending . If I would have sent 3,000 Dollar item . I would be out of luck . So glad I tested this instead of shipping .
Don’t advise anybody too use this .Get your money in your HAND. Before shipping
THANKS

I am in a scenario where a customer wants to pick up the bike I am selling online but wants to pay via Paypal. I am sure that I won't have proof that it was delivered to him and he may just simply file a claim that the item was not delivered and wants all his money back. What is the best way to do this?

Got this scamming email today 18/9/19
On 18 Sep 2019, at 11:59, Christiana Laurrie <claurrie123 wrote: Great! please consider it sold and remove the adverts online as i am willing to pay your asking price? because i need to buy it for my cousin asap as a surprise gift, 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 I'm just recovering from heart surgery so I'm home-bound. can i earn your trust, hope i wont be disappointed? I have a courier agent that would help me to pick it up at your preferred location after you have received your money and cleared to your account and i'll pay you via PayPal today once you get back to me with your Paypal email and full name. Where is the pick up location so that i can inform the courier agent about it now? Await your response.

I saw an advertisement for a Toyota pickup truck with exceptionally low miles and lots of extras. It was being sold for 1000.00 and the person listing the truck said his aunt was selling it and to email her directly (comments were turned off on the post) I emailed the "lady" and she said her husband recently passed away and it was his truck and gave her bad memories so she wanted to sell it asap. She and her daughter moved out of state acter selling their house and she wanted to use Ebay for the transaction. I knew right away that I heard about this scam before so I declined by responding that I'm not sending money without seeing and test driving the truck first. Also, I searched her name (Ann Fleming) and found that this was a famous writer who died in 1913. Beware of scams like this!

Hi, I got this email from Sandra Dixon on Saturday.

Thank you for your response to my message. I have read all the details on the advertisement. I am interested in buying it and I would like to get it as soon as possible. can you please tell me how long you have owned it? do you have more photos of it or video and what is the final price for it?
I hope to hear from you soon.

I'm satisfied with the condition. I won't be able to come and view it myself because I am currently away for work.but if can you guarantee that it is in a good condition, I will meet up with your last price. I know there are other buyers patronizing you already. This is more reason why I would like to get this as soon as possible.i will pay you through PayPal as it is the fastest & easiest way for me to make payment at this moment, do not worry about PayPal charges, I will take care of that. And about the transportation, I shall arrange for a transport agent to come directly for the pickup after I have made all the necessary payment. After you have confirmed the payment on your account, it shall be transported to my home address in Aberdeen(Scotland). So if you accept this mode of payment, please send me your info requested below if you have an account already with PayPal:-
Name : PayPal Email : Mobile Number: amount:
I expect your reply soon. Thank you.
She also mentioned MoneyGram which I never heard of.

Just went through this... email below

I did go through your advert and I am satisfied with it. I am okay with it and would love to go ahead with the deal right away because this meets my perfect search for time being now. I am contacting you via email because that works best for me as I am hearing impaired. Presently, I am on duty and coming to your residence for inspection won't be possible, so you have to assure me that its in condition described. You may now consider me a favorite buyer and if possible withdraw the posting from the site immediately so that I can be rest assured that it is all mine
Like I said earlier, I'm very busy with my job as I currently work as a geophysical investigator in the mountains until November 30, so I will be paying you online via my PayPal account which is attached to my bank account because it is the only form of payment that I have access to right now and also because of its good security nature. If you are interested in selling it please provide me with the following information:
Your full name Paypal email address Your Cell Phone Number
Kindly get back to me ASAP with the requested information so that I can initiate the deal through PayPal immediately.If you do not have a PayPal account, visit www. paypal. com to create an account. It is very simple to set up and highly secure to deal with. You will not be responsible for the shipping as my mover will come over to your address for the pick up after I have made the payment and you have received the Payment confirmation from PayPal.
Kind Regards. James.

I can't believe I'm reading this, a guy just tried to scam me yesterday with a new car I put up on AutoTrader.ca. Seems very strange when someone offers $600 more and doesn't even need to see the car, let alone drive the car. The other tip-off was atrocious grammar within the email itself and he ultimately said he had wired $36,313 (car was 4 sale for $35,000) over $1,600 more than I had asked and apparently to pay for the shipping for it. I did a whois lookup on the email domain he used and nothing fishy...neither was the geo-location of the Ipaddress (U.S.) The email looked kind of official and the grammar was fair to good, the PayPal logos were good (easily copied) But low and behold there was no money in my account nor any money pending on PayPal so that was it. I am still stringing him along a little bit to see how far he'll go see if he will send me $500 ahead of time in good faith after I take a photo of a fake amount that he is waiting for all ready to go with of course the $500 added back in haha.

Their most recent scam-mail below:

I have completed your payment and am pretty sure paypal must have sent you a confirmation message regarding the payment .... As per the message i got from paypal immediately your payment went through, Paypal has mandated you to get the shipping charges sent to the shipping company agent address via money gram money transfer and email them back with the money gram copy receipt or the reference number and the senders name and address so that they can quickly get it verified and get your money credited int your account immediately after their service verification process

(he could of at the very least had the link work in some fashion)

Yup, this stuff is still alive, after asking if i still got the car, got an email - @Great! please consider it sold and remove the adverts online as i am willing to pay your asking price? because i need to buy it for my cousin asap as a surprise gift, 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 I'm just recovering from heart surgery so I'm home-bound. can i earn your trust, hope i wont be disappointed? I have a courier agent that would help me to pick it up at your preferred location after you have received your money and cleared to your account and i'll pay you via PayPal today once you get back to me with your Paypal email and full name. Where is the pick up location so that i can inform the courier agent about it now? Await your response.@.
Instantly checked the name of the email address, and got refereed to this site. Thank you. Name who sent an email -
Christiana Laurrie

Amazing. All these scam stories. I once had a guy call trying to get me to purchase something and wanted my information. Don't remember what it was. He was nice and personable. Up until I didn't not want to purchase and I begin to ask nicely if this was legit. He became enraged and began to scream at me. Calling me all kinds of nasty names. That is when I could tell he was highly intoxicated and had quite an accent. I begin to ask him if he was intoxicated and he became even more angry. He continued with his insults, quite nasty insults. I advised him, that his insults were not bothering me. I told him I did not understand why he felt the need to go to this extreme to scam a person. Especially since he was highly intoxicated and it was very apparent. I pointed out that getting a non scamming job as apposed to a scamming job would be so much easier. It didn't go over very well. He kept yelling profanities and insults. I told him calmly that I would now hang up. Quite unbelievable.

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