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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

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


Got the identical emails!

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.... Goes on, thought it was funny cuz my name is rob as well haha!!

I just got this same message from "Ann Grove" via text phone # 732-908-8416

+14086183622 Ann Grove Great, 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. Hi, I have completed the payment and i expect you to have gotten the confirmation email from paypal about it and the pickup process.I wanted to let you know i added the pick up agent commission fee in your payment because the pick up agent only accepts payment via Western Union Transfer which i couldn't do due to my current location.Kindly look into your INBOX or SPAM for notification alert from paypal and let me know if you got and understand the process As per the email sent to me which is similar to yours,The payment is on hold until you follow the instruction given to you, which is for you to make the transfer of the added $400 upfront via western union to the mover name and address HQ and email the western union details to paypal by replying to the confirmation email you got about the payment along with a picture of western union receipt for verification and your account will be Reimbursed with total funds for withdrawal.. Do you understand now?

This just happened today. So sketchy!!!

I got the very same word for word message from the same person! "She" responded to both my items the same way. I feel bad for people that get scammed by these jerks.

These people are terrible!
I got a room to rent and this person even sent me an ID card info and offered to pay her rent thru paypal.

Please do not trust these people!
The email goes like this:

i hope you are having a nice time over there,i need to ask for a favor from you before i transfer the fund to you,i have been extremely busy here with the summit,i got the chance to check my mail now and i have receive several messages from my mover that i have to settle the cost of moving my things down to spore before any actions can be taken and the charges is $1001 for the pick up and delivery of my stuffs,i have look for a solution to get the payment over to them but unfortunately my co workers are here with me so no one to run around in china to get this done for me so the only solution i have now is to add up the cost of $1001 to the initial deposit of $850 for my rent,so that you could just help me get the payment across to them via western union money transfer the total i will be sending over to you now will be $1,851, i will add up $100 for the running around expense so that the burden wont be on you,please you will have to help me get the payment over to them via western union money transfer to there head office in china,you can find any western union outlet around or post office closer to you i will transfer the fund over to you via Paypal here,i will keep you posted once i am done with the payment,i would have sought this out before i leave but i never knew this will come up,i will be so glad if you could just help me get this sought out in order to save me from extra stress when i get there and also the cost of rescheduling my stuffs,please keep an eye on your Paypal email address for notification,


I got an email from a person who wants to buy my art work and I got the same word to word message on my mail. She is assuring me that I will get the full payment once I do the shipping cost as she doesnt have money gram in her country. She is been telling "I sware you will get your full money deposited in your account". I am not sure if it is spam or in real she wants to buy my art work.

Don't believe it, it's a hoax.
I was tricked into $600 just a few days ago.
From fake PayPal E-mail, they said the money has been received, the buyer pay the 600 freight and PayPal temporarily keep all the money, when I turn to the handling company after 600 handling fee, all the money to my account.
Actually the PayPal email was fake.

Got the exact same thing in CT today. Told them I reported them to the FTC.

I got this today for an item I posted for sell on Craigslist. (I am an investigator with the government) The wording was verbatim except the name of the airline attendant was "Suzi. The number they used was (936) 587-8160. Be careful folks.

I just had the same message from Bianca concerning two high end items I'm selling. I hate frippen scammers. There's got to be something done about these leeches.

Same exact flight attendant at AA wanted the same deal with me. 510-322-7774 Ann.

I just want to know more about it to make sure its in good condition so can you assure me i will not be disappointed???And also ,I need to inform you about this,just received an email from my pick up most sure i did not include that in my previous email,They said they won't come for the pick up unless i pay him the agent commission fee first in order to be able to schedule a pick up time.I am a Chief Engineer as my position on the sea here,the ship i am on is the Fleet Aircraft Carrier.I am so busy and can not pay the agent fees from here as they Requested that i pay them with Western Union.So what i will do here is that i will send the payment in the total amount of £250.So once you receive the confirmation of the payment from PayPal,you will deduct the promised amount for the pet which is £100 and the remaining £150 will be send down to my agent By Western Union.I have tried to paid it direct here but there is no Western Union on the ship,So i believe you can handle this for me.

Seemed too good to be real lol

This was mine for my furniture...

Okay 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 in wheelchair.
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 now?

Hi i placed a ad on gumtree last night got a reply at 5.30am this morning willing to buy all my 4 furniture items . They are willing to pay full price but cannot come to inspect has they are deaf & wheelchair bound. They are buying for there son but will send a courier & pay through paypal only . Her name is jenniferannie anyone had dealings with her

I had the same experience, “deaf and in a wheel chair” very insistent about the urgency, which rang bells to me. I have always said to people how do they fall fo scams but I nearly did. I notified the person I had already sold it and swiftly deleted all the ads and emails they sent. The alarm bells rang when I noticed that the email was timed at 5am which I thought was a bit strange.

Ditto on this language used in response to CraigsList Ad. "Buyer" wanted to send money to my bank account.... Didn't mention PayPal though. Didn't fall for it - this one had SCAM written all over it.

Got same one for a boat. Buying for his son. Working for military, sending a courier to pick it up.

I was just texted on my phone. glad I checked for scamms before I did anything.

Had this exact same text and email today from 'Shannon scolffied' and almost fell for it stupidly! Sellers beware

Same email I got but I gave my address & Phone number was this a mistake

Hi what was there name I just had the same thing from gumtree from a email with Barbara at the start and also i got same thing last year when selling another car from a different name I think.

I had almost this same message today about my accordion using the name Elizabeth Watkins said she wanted it for her cousin but she had just had a cancer operation and could not speak but would send her courier to an identified collection point. She wanted my PayPal information to set up payment but I sent her back a note to say given her condition my husband would be happy to deliver to her address if she could forward it to me.

Just had the same message from this person trying to buy the musical instruments I was selling on gumtree. What was her response to your offer of delivery?

I had the exact same person, Elizabeth Watkins, trying to buy my piano. She said it was for her cousin's birthday, and that she had a throat cancer surgery recently. It's definitely a scammer. They asked for £320 to be sent to 'MoneyGram'. Don't fall for it!!

Had a very similar contact for a car we have for sale on gum tree, smelled instantly of a scam hence researching and finding this page. A lady named Rose, disabled and in a wheel chair buying for their cousin. PayPal payment at full asking price. Hmmmm lol

I've just had this email via gum tree. Did a bit if research and hey presto it's a scam. I told them to take a hike and reported it. The tale is over a year old... beware.

Same email and text message to about car, this person said she has loss of hearing and recovering from heart surgery went by the name Deborah andrie

I had a guy text me telling me he was gonna pay double what I asked. He said he'd do a bank transfer or paypal. I initially said bank transfer because k don't use PayPal. But he said "it's not advisable to give out your info blahblah get paypal." I set it up and send him the link to my paypal yet he asked for my full name and email. First red flag. Then I got the email about payment pending and will post when I send verification of the item being shipped... to nigeria. I then looked online and found this thank God. A few hours later another person did the same thing. I told them it was scam and they never replied again.

+1 (469) 892-8762 Texted me trying to buy my boAt . Offered $5500 so I agreed then he sent me a payment of 6200 through a fake PayPal email services@    paypal              What an idiot . Checked my PayPal no payment. Never contacted me again. Thanks for the waste of time .

I was selling my beautiful wedding dress off kijiji & i was estatic that someone was interested in purchasing it. Good thing I searched this up because I knew the email he sent me was too good to be true. It started off as a text saying

"Michelle roth wedding dress size 8 Hi, I'm texting you concerning your advert on Kijiji, I'm interested! Please contact me if this is still available.let me know your final price, as i intend to buy it right away. pls Kindly reply me direct to my personal email ( princesslinda091 @ ) Regards Linda"

When i read this text, i was curious to know why their number was out of the area codes in the Greater Toronto Area. Anyways, i gave this person an email with information with the dress & i got an email back..

How are you doing ?how i wish to come and view it in person but am out of town, I am an underwater photographer (shooting for Discovery) and was sponsored by another dry suit company in states, So i won't be able to come and do things personally,I have gone through the AD and am satisfied with the condition and the price,consider me as your favorite buyer,i will arrange for a shipping courier company that will come and pick it up at your door step or anywhere you prefer as soon as you received payment, I usually pay with cash but due to my current position,i will be paying you through PayPal which is fast, safe and reliable method of payment and . I'll add the 3.9% PayPal surcharge to the firm price. kindly send me your PayPal payment invoice or create an account at if you don't have one and set it up within 5mins, Please Get back to me with the details below :

Full Name:
PayPal Email address:
Cell Phone No:
Total Amount:

I am eagerly waiting to hear from you. Thank you very much for your time.


Now this is the email that got me suspicious. Beware guys. It was a close call for me.

I have a used car for sale that I posted on 4 different online websites. Each time an ad went live, I immediately got a text msg from a person want to buy my car with PayPal because they were in the militany and deployed, could not pick up the car but their agent would, Bla, Bla, Bla! I do not use PayPal and NEVER will! I've had 4 scammers try this. 1 claimed to be the Commander of the 10th Mtn Div at Ft Bragg, NY. I have told them all that I will NOT accept PayPal and then never hear from then again. It's a Crock of Crap, Don't fall for it!!!

Thanks to your site and honest information I stopped just before sending $500 to some one claiming to be aThomas Coleman in the military who wanted to buy my piano thru Craig's list and use PayPal. I stopped only because I needed to reread the directions from PayPal and noticed may typos and bad English.
I was so close. Thanks you. Watch out for Thomas Coleman.

WE nearly fell for scam. Similar scenario; but posed as a grandmother buying $3000.00 leather couch for grandson's birthday. She could not come see couch in person, but would send movers to pick it up. As soon as I mentioned my concerns about Paypal, she disappeared and her Craigslist email was blocked. Feel lucky I listened to my gut.

A person from 508 271-1638 tried to tell me he would send his shipping agent and purchase my vehicle through Paypal. I informed him that I had read this page and he has not responded since.

I posted a L-shape bunk bed for sale on Craigslist. Person by the name of Frank contacted me saying he want it but he is a biologist away at sea. Wants me to set up an PayPal account and will send movers to get the bunk bed. I decided to look up complaints before I did anything. Thanks for the feedback I hope it helps more people.

I had one trying to buy my 5th wheel trailer. His area code was California and I am in Canada. Said he is a petroliom engineer.
Glad I found this page!

Just had to same thing happened to me for my motorcycle I’m selling on craigslist. Got the message within a few hours after posting my Ad. Glad to see this site to confirm he is spam. Something told me it was a scam it’s always good to go with your gut. The number he used 508-556-9873

This same number just texted me and wanted to buy my car off Craigslist. He offered full price for it but only through paypal because he has been scammed by cashiers checks before. Something told me to reverse search his phone number and I found your comment. Thank you!

Posted my motorcycle and within 30 minutes BobbyWest 6787 tried this on me. Although he said nothing about the military, after reading most of these I simply said "I'll take cash or check only (when it clears the bank) I am aware of the Paypal scam" He went away of course

This guy is still using same email address. Just tried to scam me to buy my car. Looked up his email and found this.

Just happened right now!
I was selling a dress on ebay and the buyer asked me to contact them from:(802)7270566
and so i did.... as soon as i pressed accept offer, ebay sent me a message saying they won’t let me sell it to the person but the person is a suspicious buyer.
then i wake up to the buyer telling me this:
i would love to have it mailed to my daughter as a birthday gift, please can you get an iTunes gift card of $300 inside the package before you ship it, would appreciate you assisting with this cause i work away from home with the US Marines and not in the right position to have it mailed out myself, I will add $300 to your payment for the iTunes gift card and an extra $30 for gas and stress...
her user name: hat.chda-93
it’s ridiculous!

I had a used car for sale on Craigslist. Some guy contacted me and told me he had a buyer that would come and get the car if I had a PayPal account. He was buying car for his son but would be in Antarctica for extended months for a scientific exploration. What will they think of next?

The following numbers are also scammers who prefer paypal or asking to send a Craigslist code to verify if ur real, dont give them this code.

To: FTC and Your CyberCrime Specialist Facts & Information: Keep Up The Good Work... Your advice to the American Public is very meaningful & worthwhile...


Please check out our tips for getting your money back.

I AM SELLING A LAPTOP AND JUST GOT THIS MESSAGE, SO GUYS BE CAREFUL! - Thanks for getting back i want you to understand that am buying the item as a birthday gift for my Friend who was recently transferred to England due to the nature of his work and i will want you to help me post it to England through Posta Romana EMS Courier because am presently on business trip outside of Romania and i will pay 2100RON for the item and shipment to London and am willing to make the payment through Bank Transfer/Paypal... Let me know if you are okay with my proposal... 14:07

wat site name on romania is dat pls let me knw so to be aware..

Pay Pal are issuing Pay Pal accounts without verifying the true identity of the person who is requesting the account. My checking account got debited by Pay Pal and I do not have a Pay Pal account. Pay Pal issued a Pay Pal account to someone with only routing and checking account number and did not verify that the name and address matched the account.

My question to FTC, why is this allowed by law?

After much searching I was able to contact Pay Pal by phone. They told me the name of the person but will not give me anymore information even after I gave them my bank account information and got by account blocked. It is my banking account. Why I am being denied the fraudulent person’s address, phone number that was used being the name in no way matched my name that is on the account? I have never used Pay Pal. It seems the criminal has rights and I have none.

FTC, there is serious problems with the financial systems in this country and I guess the world when it is solely the responsibility of the individual when his or her identity is hacked or stolen to issue credit accounts without the issuing institution not truly taking steps to very the true identity of the requester.
Even through after much jumping through hoops, waste of time and resources the funds are put back into the hacked account it cost all customers of this country with higher prices on products and services as the financial institutions pass it on to the merchants who then pass it onto the customer.

Readers of this comment post contact your Congressman about this serious flaw in our financial system of issuing credit with true verification of the requester as it is costing you and all of us with higher prices for products and services.

Thank you for time.


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