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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

recently i have been receiving notices from (paypal), saying that my accont has recently beeen frozen or limited. i have never had a paypal account in my life. They sent me mobs of messages saying same thing.

This could be an attempt to steal your personal information, money or merchandise. You can contact PayPal at spoof@paypal.com about the emails.

First I get a text message from 848-228-5475 asking if my 2009 chevy cobalt ss still for sale? if yes kindly at my email {rustin2424 } because we are not allow to do phone call only email at the military.
CLUE 1: you missed a word CLUE 2: what military base does not allow phone calls?

So I emailed him back saying yes it was still for sale and that I did not have a paypal account. He or she insisted that it was 100% free and that was the only way he or she could send money. So I asked some more random emails like what base you from? No reply. Mind you I have been in the army for 7 years. I know this is 100% a scam.

So here is the email he sent... Email from rustin Rustin Arthur to me
Im just asking about it to make sure its in good condition, 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 Verified PayPal account? Let me know asap so i can arrange the payment through PayPal. my shipper will be coming to pick it up as soon as the payment clears into your account.
I went along for a while to see what he or she would do, he or she never responded again. I knew it was a scam. Be careful Paypal is not secure as you think

Yep . . . this exact same thing just came up with me on a van I advertised locally and yet got the same red flag replys from Virginia as you did . . . EXACTLY the same . . . . . thanks for the heads up though even as I was feeling something not right here, I am not versed in online sales let alone Paypal and was thinking that Paypal was a guarantee.

Same thing just happened to me, and that is why I goggled this. Thank you

This same loser is still at it. Very similar message,but work at HP as a consultant, buying for their Dad...Name this time was Claudine Moody with a matching email address. Texted me first from 701 289 2276.

I said great, I work at HP too and you are not in our system, please feel free to forward the names of a few coworkers.

I really do not like thieves...

OMG, thank you for posting this...this is ALMOST word for word what happened to me today trying to sell my vehicle via craigslist. Person in military, cannot do phone calls, sign up for paypal right now, I will pay right away, someone else will pick it up, trust me...BLAH BLAH. THANK YOU THANK YOU

Just had two guys trying the same scam on me. Posted a motorcycle on craigs list. First said he was off shore had to use pay pal and wanted it for his son. Second was almost the same exact text only he wanted it for his dad. Well I promptly informed him I was a federal agent with homeland security and that if wanted any further info to let me know. Never heard from either of them again

Same thing here, on a military base, can only use email and pay via paypal. He sounded very nice, buying my motorcycle for his brother and all. Very fishy, wanted to by it sight unseen.....

This is exactly what happened to me today. They used the exact same words, and saying somebody is going to come to pick up the car i am selling. Even worse, they stole an identity, I googled the name they gave me and it's Major General James R          even used his picture in the email profile. Be advised!

Same scenario here with me about a Car I am selling on a Internet classifieds. The caller used all the same PayPal account biz

When I told him I was familiar with PayPal but I don't think that we could do any business. I'm in Arkansas and the "Buyer is a text message linked to a phone number in Erie, PA. I thought to myself that it was more than illogical to buy a car down South.

I know that there are plenty of used cars for sale in the Erie area. Phone number 8 14 651 8299. SELLER BEWARE!

That's the exact wording I just received from a potential "buyer" within an hour after I posted ad for my motorcycle from a jardsonmike858 Now I know it is definitely a scam. Thanks for posting your experience.

i got a response from the same email
told me will wire money through paypal and will send someone to pick car up
im glad i did research before i responded

Will Wallace of the army is trying that with me as we speak. Just read his email 5 minutes ago.

I just had a similar message from 1 901 779 5998 from Sgt Wayne,,,,,Hello my name is Sgt Wayne, I'm just asking about it to make sure its in good condition as im buying it for my Son as a   
Birthday Surprise gift and 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? Let me know asap so i can arrange the   
payment through PayPal. my shipper will be coming to pick it up as soon as the payment clears into your account...Thanks.
More get back to me with the

1:Condition
2:your paypal email address and name
3:phone #
4:Firm price.....Thanks.

I am trying to sell a flute and received an email almost to the T like you got saying the same about PayPal and that someone would pick the item up after confirmation of payment had been made. Sooooo glad I read your post on here. Thank you for the info and for your service.

This was a supposedly Sgt. in the marines...i was a military personnel and i seen several issues with this message lol & before hand they texted me from a cell phone saying they are not allowed to use cell phones. He is a NCO why is he not allowed to use a cellphone?

haha but just almost got caught by this i requested for him to sign a contract and for me to get it notarized byto legally bind him to follow the instructions to receive the vehicle since he couldnt come in person with the money and he was on a military installation. all he had to do was sign a piece of paper with his signature to receive the vehicle so i could show the MP's on the base since i no longer have the security clearance to go on a marine installation and to verify he was stationed there.

Thank you for getting back to me.Can you assure me that it is in good state and that i will not be disappointed with it i read the conditions as stated on the advert,and I'd like to have a proper look of it, but I may not be able to come for inspection and pay you by cash due to the nature of my job and current location , the issue is I'm with the US Marine and I'm not in my own state now I'm at the Military Corps Base Quantico, Virginia and use of mobile phone is not allowed at the military base . But I'm able to access my email anytime as we do make use of laptop so my only and quickest payment option is PayPal as i can send money via PayPal anytime.Since I'm requesting this transaction to be done via PayPal I'm willing to pay what is good for you Thx

Just received a message from a Sgt Cedric Martin Matthews with the exact wording!! People are unreal! It smelled fishy and hats how I can across this post looking to see if it was a scam. Thanks for sharing

Just got today the same message. He is a scammer red flag!!!

Just got the very same message when trying to sell my car on CL. First texted me and gave email address then responded verbatim the text above - same scammer.

just got the same email from Cedric Martin matthew at cedricmartin.usmarine wanting to buy my car just listed on craigs list. Must be a great time of year for people like this. Blocked him from my email account.

EXACT SAME MESSAGE AND M.O. TODAY Sgt Cedric Martin Cedric Martin 804-368-6193 SCAM ALERT

I just received a meassage from this same person. Texted me about my Avalanche and asked me to email him if it was available.

EXACT same happened to me today. Same person, exact same text. I asked for a copy of military ID. He tried responding and by giving me this info: Sergeant Cedric Martin Matthew DOD: RA-3-xxxxxxxx battalion: 2nd battalion,12th infantry Unit: Combat Unit AKO Number: 24xxxx Rank Staff Sergeant (Sgt) MOS: (E-6) Was a Marine spouse for many years. No was was legit. Scumbag!

Received same email to regarding my vehicle for sale. Scam!

Same identical thing from Cedric Martin Matthew who said he would pay full price for our RV sight unseen through paypal,HE IS A BUSY MAN TRYING TO SCAM EVERYBODY, wanted us to send 1,800 walmart wire to Blessing Adeyin in Newark, NJ. Googled her name and she showed up on linkedin showed AA woman who claimed to be a nurse. I am cancelling paypal account, can't trust anybody.

Someone took $500.00 out of my PayPal account

Here's the one I got just yesterday.

"Do you have the extra keys, Do you have the spare tire, Where did you get your car serviced, Have you ever had any transmission repairs and Is there any rust on the vehicle? I'm ready to pay your asking price but not cash in person because I am serving in the US Army and currently been deploy to Fort Huachuca Military Base , Arizona and calls are restricted at the moment and my only quickest payment option is PayPal, its safe fast and secure and i will be responsible for the PayPal transaction charges so you can get your expected amount. If you don't have an account with PayPal, its pretty easy to open one, Just log onto   paypal.  com and sign up. I hope we can make the purchase as fast as possible? As I am buying the vehicle for my dad and I'm very sure he will love this vehicle, his a mechanic and a handy man, so if there is anything that need to be fixed in it just let me know he will handle it. I have a mover that will come for the pick up once payment clears in your account and he will handle the title for me.I would appreciate if you email me with more pictures (if available) too since i won't be able to see this in person. I look forward to hear from you with the information below. I look forward to hear from you with the information below. Your PayPal e-Mail Address : Full name: Firm Price: Phone Number: Zip code for pickup:

Same Rustin email tried to scam me. His English language sounded suspicious. I asked him what military base. No response.

I have a friend who is selling a table and chairs. She is using pay pal. The buyer wants my friend to send 395 dollars for pickup through pay pal. Says 500 dolars (price of table and chairs plus yhe 395 will be put in my friends pay pal account. My question is why does my friend need to pay the 395 first. Dounds like a scam how can we check if this is a scam or not

It could be a scam.  Why should a seller need to send money?

Watch out for anyone who sends email to try to make you believe they put money in your account.  Don't click on any links in the email. It might go to a fake site that makes it look like you got paid. Check your account yourself.  Go to the website you know and sign into your account.

got a text message from 702.246.4645 wanting to buy my motorcycle via PayPal just like the above messages. Wanted to buy it immediately..ain't happening. Looks like another scam....

2 July 2015; I responded to an ad for a 2006 Wilderness Travel Trailer on Craigslist Florida, and there is a scammer using the name and title of Staff Sargeant Brianna Willson who will only accept a transaction through ebay but the item is not for sale on ebay. Additionally, she claims she has to transfer by 15 July, and can use a Military Cargo Flight to ship the RV anywhere at no cost in 2-3 days. I'm retired military and that's a load of B.S., but someone else might not recognize that.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Blog comments don't go into the database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I posted an ad last night to sell my motorcycle and have already received two scams, one over text asking to buy the bike unseen for asking price and one that started on text and went to email that read just like a lot of the posts on this thread. This all happened within 12 hours.

This same thing happened to me when I posted my car on Craigslist to sell two days ago. The phone number was 918-884-6335 and she asked me to kindly reply via email sharoniramosa Wanted to buy the car without seeing it as a gift for her sister and could not come see it due to the nature of her work and she would send her shippers to pick up the car. Asked me for my paypal account over and over again despite my many follow up questions. I'm so glad I found this thread to help me know for sure it was scam.

Do not sell anything sight unseen!! And only accept cash or cashier's check in person.

Can just sending someone your PayPal email address get you in trouble. Selling furniture and they want my PP email address to pay. The have not asked me for any money which I would obviously not pay to them!

I'm in communication right now with someone who claims to be ready to send money to buy my motorcycle unseen. They want my PayPal email address. I have asked for full verifiable contact information. They have refused to talk on the phone because they are at work.

I'm getting text from a odd number wanting to buy my fourwheeler unseen for asking price and pay only PayPal cause she said she's not local told her I could do money order she said only paypal and a delivery company would arrive the next day to pick it up

Reported 925-238-7778 to the FTC for this scam.

6612821772 2342810903 these two numbers !!! Never respond them. They tryied to buy my iphone using pay pall. The first number said she can give me 800$ instead 550$ fpr the phone. SCAM

219-803-1712 is another scammers phone number. Beware.

Just got a text from someone in Virginia wanting to buy my advertised van. I life in Pa and was pretty suspicious as I have only advertised locally . . . All the red flags are there . . . Paypal is the only way they can go . . . Help with setting me up an account . . . the hurry up lets do this thing . . . Yeah, right . . Was suspicious right off but thought that Paypal was a safe admin . . . Thank you all for showing me my instincts were right on.

Here is similar response from a possible scammer (Note: local San Francisco company, but Columbus, Ohio telephone#):

Alright then are you a verified PayPal member if not you can setup one at PayPal.com it is 100% free and secured so i can make the transfer to you..

< ... bogus name ... > Managing Director Chen Design Associates Call or Text (614) 515-5352

Similar messages from 435 562 212, this is a scam number.

I received messages from 978 434 2576Sgt Paul Trim and 508 233 8350 no name given and 832 478 7476 no name given and 727 877 4595 Nelda Wallace.All were responding to my ad on RVTRADER to sell my motorhome. Each one claimed to be at sea either in the military or on an oil rig and could only pay using PayPal. I refused to use PayPal for payment and have not heard back from any of them

832-478-7476 just texted me about my motorcycle as well, leading off by asking for my lowest price. *smh*

I just had the very same # call me and ask to send funds for a motorcycle I listed today.

I've been texting a scammer back and forth all morning. (Not much to do right now haha). He is following the same process as all scammers. Wants only PayPal and has a private shipper to pick up my motorcycle. Legit buyers will always let you talk to them and will want to see what they are purchasing. This clown says his personal shipper will pick up the bike. Sure you will. Folks, never give your PayPal address and never click on a link in an email that asks for such information. When I told him I was a police officer (ok,I lied) he stopped communicating. Imagine that.

Phone numbers are easily changed but the con is generally the same. Listed a truck last month and he had to pay through paypaland have an associate pick it up ... full price, sight unseen. Today listed an RV, Told the scammer I only use cash, he claimed to be a diabled, deaf, VET and couldn't do it any other way but would pay full price, same as most in this string. JUST BE CAREFUL!

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