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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.

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Jobs & Making Money


Listed a car for sell on Craigslist.

Dude calls says he is helping her daughter get the car. He said the bank agreed for a car loan for 16,300.00 but he is willing to pay $14,000.00 and since the bank is issuing $16,300.00 cashiers check I will need for refund $2,300.00.

He sound like a 35 year old guy but says his "child" is 23 years old.

I asked him why don't her daughter take the cashiers check on his name so he can withdraw it and then give her the money. He thought about it and said no we don't have a car so the bank won't issue a check on our name.

Lucky for me I just googled if there has been any scams similar to this and boom turns out plenty.

This is his phone number 415-604-2623

862.205.5387 just texted me interested in a laptop. Wanting to pay by PayPal and for me to ship on their personal UPS Account. Wanted it shipped to a daughter in Texas. Yea....Right

972 483 4547. Texted me about a laptop i posted. Said he is at a funeral but wants it shipped to his son in nj. Sending an extra $100 for shipping and gas. Nd ship it express at usps.

Still happening...same scenario here....full price...sight unseen...first requested check...then went to PayPal.... Number is 1-360-227-7294....guy named chris

Selling a double wide mobile on Craig's list. Had a text response within 5 minutes of posting offer.Seems to be some recurring sentences/words with these scams...Courier will pick it up, Use Pay Pal as safest method, in the military & can't take phone calls so use email, any damages & offers full price right away, wants my pay pal acct. # on first email, and one sentence resonated throughout your testimonials...'hope to read from you soon'. Add name Steven Wooden to list of scammers trying to scam this Holiday!

I lost rs.6000 because of carelessness of PayPal. I purchased a script for gamersfall. com and got cheated.

Its this company called Matrix Unlocking. He Said He Can Unlock It But I Don't Want My Money To Be Took. Can Someone Tell Me If It's A Real Website Or Not.

Very informative article about PayPal. I just read that PayPal will shortly stop serving Turkey due to regulatory restrictions.

Received from thomasjones7208@ in regards to a boat but... he never even mentions "boat"...

Thanks for the prompt respond!. I do appreciate the way you answered my questions & and sure my son will love and enjoy the Item more than you did. Im satisfied with it conditions and i want you to know am serious in purchasing the Item from you because my son birthday is Friday. (Mega Sentence time…) I have a hauler carrier agent that will come for the pick up after the payment and sign all necessary documents transferring the name of ownership and signing of all paperwork will be done by the hauler agent on my behalf also i would love to assure you that the Item wont leave your side until the money is in your account and clears i will be patient with you as am an honest man and a man of my word so once all this is done then we can now both schedule the pickup time and date. I look forward to hearing from you with your PayPal information as requested below.

Hello my name is Leslie 310-744-4378 310-469-9989 304-249-3060 424-625-2732 these numbers are all scammers. His name is "Williams" claims he is in the military and really wanted a rug I have put for sale on an app called letgo. Ignorant I followed through he wanted to pay me through papal if not a check. I told him I didn't have a paypal and he could send me a check. The rug was put for sell for $70 the check arrived to my address but not with his name it came from a therapeutic company. The check was made for $720. I was surprised by the amount and I told him he over paid me. "Williams" said it was his boss who sent the check and the rest of the money he was for his "pickers" who were going to pick up the rug. It then felt sketch. He kept insisting to cash in the check asap and to let him know. I told him I would send him the check back to him and that I was not going to go through with the deal. He got mad and started to threaten me saying he knows where I live and how He was going to bring his friends over to give me a lesson. Since this is the FIRST time this has ever happened I almost went to deposit the check because I didn't want any problems. After trying to get to an agreement he was mad because I didn't follow through. I reported him to the police already because he was getting out of hand.

Here's another scenario to watch for. This one came from 1-703-996-7865.
Buyer wants to buy big-ticket item (that's very difficult to move) without seeing it, and will send "private shipper" to pick it up. Shipper can't accept PayPal, so buyer will add the shipping cost to the PayPal payment to seller, and seller will pay cash to shipper. Seller then receives fake PayPal email and doesn't double-check PayPal account balance, so seller pays shipper cash. Shipper then leaves to get big truck and helpers to load item - and never comes back.

Here's another one from elmerhewett0 1-832-650-9348

I hope it is in good condition? and there wont be any cause of disappointment if i purchase it from you? I want to buy it for my son as a birthday gift and I am ready to pay the asking price. I'm an Ocean Engineer and am currently on sea right now which is strictly no calls. My Mode of payment is PayPal because i don't have access to my bank account online, but i have it attached to my PayPal account. Since I'm requesting this transaction to be done via PayPal, I will be responsible for all the Paypal fees/charges on this transaction, if you don't have an account with paypal, it's pretty easy, safe and secure to open one. Just log on to www. paypal. com. I hope we can make this transaction as fast as possible. Less I forgot, I have a Mover that will come for it once payment is cleared in your paypal account and they will be handling the title for me, as I look forward to hearing from you with your paypal information as requested below. 

Your PayPal e-Mail Address : Full name: Firm Price: Many Thanks

A co-worker had a good suggestion. If a scammer claims to be in the military, ask them to tell you their CO's (Commanding Officer) name. It is public record, so there is no excuse for them not to. From Craigslist I have had a fake cashiers check sent FEDEX with a fake return address. The check is pretty authentic looking, except there is no security in the paper (did have a watermark), and no complete address, from STATE CREDIT UNION (no specific state). The check would clear, but after another few days it gets caught, AFTER you send out some money they need for "shipping" (I did not let it go that far, or did I deposit it).

I'm not sure I understand the scam. If you verify that the funds are received in your PayPal account ( not through a link in a fake e mail) how do you lose? Can the buyer claim something false later to try to retract the funds?

Scammer #602-552-7155    E-Mail: pamelabrown1943

Same scenario, is it available?  Cursory questions and then this:

Thanks for answering the questions. I am satisfied but can you assure me that i will not be disappointed if i buy this Vehicle. I'm ready to pay your asking price but not cash in person because I'm currently in a conference and calls are restricted at the moment and my only quickest payment option is PayPal, its safe fast and secure and i will be for the PayPal transaction charges so you can get expected amount. If you don't have an account with PayPal, its pretty easy to open one,Just log onto www. paypal. com and sign up. I hope we can make the purchase as fast as possible? As I am buying the vehicle for someone 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 look forward to hear from you with the information below. Your PayPal e-Mail Address : Full name: Firm Price: Zip code for pickup:

Steer clear...

Thanks to this excellent page, I think I dodged a bullet...I was attempting to sell my wedding dress on a second-hand clothes site, and a woman under the name of Kate Craddock commented, asking me to e-mail her with more details (which is not necessarily suspicious per se). Once I e-mailed her, she replied offering to pay more than I had requested, saying she could only pay through PayPal with some strange excuse about account linking "only" through that website (??). Once she offered to over-pay and would only use PayPal, I had a sufficiently bad feeling, which led me here. She also asked for my PayPal username, and even sent a follow-up e-mail to ask again on a day when I wasn't able to respond to her first e-mail within a couple of hours. Once I asked for a delivery address (she gave another bizarre response, something like 0068 CR, etc.) and pointed out that, if the problem was being restricted to PayPal, the website she contacted me on (plus ebay, and loads of others) offer payment options by signing into your PayPal, she stopped responding entirely. Sighhh...Back to the drawing board, I guess...

The exact same Kate Craddock contacted me using a fake PayPal account trying to purchase an extremely expensive belt from my poshmark scammer! So disgusting people like that exist

Thanks a lot for information, I was also contacted by the same Kate Craddock...

Was this on Poshmark? I got contacted someone named Kate Craddock as well, inquiring about purchasing my Gucci items.

I got contacted by Kate Craddock today for an Alice and Olivia dress. Thank goodness I decided to google her name when I started getting suspicious, and found out that she has been trying to scam other Poshmark users. How despicable!

You’re lucky you dodged a bullet. I on the other hand not so much. I am a 17 year old and was selling my prom dress on Poshmark. I got comment on my picture saying that if I was interested In Selling it to contact kate Craddock’s phone number. So I did. I was not familiar with paypal, I’ve heard about it but never used it. I got an account and she said she transferred my money to my account, my balance was still at zero. I received more emails saying that the amount has changed and that I need to refund her. I refunded her money and it totaled to $550 the dress was $550. I sent the dress before I got the email saying I got the money. I am out $1,100 right now. She scammed me.

Interesting, I got contracted for a laptop few minutes after posting the add. same modus operandi. Only PayPal and he asked me to ship the item abroad for his son. He was willing to pay the shipping fees of 200$. I was skeptical, but thanks to all your testimony everything is clear now

Text inquiry first then email sent with this-
Hello, thx for getting back to me, i'm Mike Taylor, i'm an oil and gas rotary drill operator and currently 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

has the engine been replaced? is the vessel and its engine under warranty? has the boat ever been in salt water? are u the original owner? when was it last used? how is it stored in the winter? what's your firm price? and where are you currently located? and lastly hope you got a paypal acct??

pls get back to me asap.

I have this exact guy emailing me now, saying the exact wording line for line...funny!

I got an email from him too.. !! I posted my car for sale and got an email from him! Hope he gets caught soon !

I'm selling a truck in Alabama on Craigslist. Some dude from California offers to purchase it through PayPal then send a currier for the pick up. I told him this would be a cash only exchange and he could send his curries with the cash through PayPal. Never heard from him again lol.

857-232-6254 - Craigslist scammer. I posted items for sale on different categories on NYC Craigslist. In less than 15 mins I got a text from this number interested in a laptop bag (Computers category on Craigslist) and saying will pay full price and buying for a friend in college. Asked for zipcode to calculate shipping cost and if I have paypal account to receive payment. I replied this item is only "Cash and carry only" knowing full well plenty of scammers on Craigslist. In 2 mins time, I got a similar text from this number again interested in the shoes I posted (Clothing and Accessories category on Craigslist). This is how I knew for certain this person is a scammer and is using technology to identify new items posted for sale on Craigslist in record time (it takes time to sort through the amount of postings in one category, whatmore in multiple categories on Craigslist) while the innocent sellers (usually not your regular professional sellers that are aware of Internet scams) is still "fresh" in wanting to sell his/her items. Beware and be safe!

I recived a call from a man named Bailey Thomas (201)995-6452 he stated that he wanted to buy my benz and that he can pay per paypal,that he was buying it for smeone dear to him. He claimed he would have a trucker come pick it up.I decided to google paypal scam before i gave him the information and this page came up

Got a similar email for a car I listed.

Submitted/reported cell phone... 669-400-2976

Also sent an email to report the #.

Received text message wanting to buy car and pay via paypal, just like everyone else. I told him that vehicles were not covered under PayPal's buyer/sell protection guidelines... and said if he was seriously interested that he could send a cashier's check, money order, or send the cash with the mover to pay me upon collection of vehicle. Not a peep back from the fraud.

Thank you FTC and all of the comments. Just got this one.
I became a bit suspicious too although I got roped in at firs then trusted my instinct and found this site. He(Roy Cryan) wrote "Great..I'm okay with the asking price and also am buying this for my son, i will be having my hauler come for the pickup due to the fact that i work with the military, it's pretty tight,I'm making the payment via paypal as it's attached to my bank account and note that i will be responsible for the paypal charges.....Do you have a paypal account?" He hasn't yet transferred money (6 hours after he said he's send it right away). Unfortunately I gave him my number and email address although not sure what he can do with that.

Just got the exact same scam for same guy yesterday! Roy Cyran - same words exactly. Thank you for sharing the info - saved me from this scammer.

me too!

I just got the exact same message from "Roy Cryan" and was hesitating to reply when my daughter did a search and found this blog. Thank you!

Ugh. Trying to sell dining furniture and got the same email from Roy Cryan. Glad I googled it and found this site.

Yep, another "Roy Cryan" email from a craigslist ad here. I could tell it was fake, because they asked "I saw your ad on craigslist and it was lovely,i would like to know more about it tell me the condition.". Since I posted extensive images and described it, I knew they were trying to scam.

I got exactly the same comment from Roy Cryan about my dining room set listed on craigslist!!I just sent him an e-mail asking if he was still interested, when I decided to google him and found this site! (BTW, who says "it was lovely"????

R Roy Cryan to nhr8q-6185622948 2 days agoDetails I work with the Military and am presently located at San Luis Obispo County California Military Bases, United States, so i wont be able to come. As soon as the payment clears i have a mover that would come over to pick it up..

Just got email from same Roy Cryan interested in a rug I posted last night. Thankful for this site and all your notes on this!

Another Roy Cryan scam story! Same words exactly about the "lovely" piece and how he was in San Luis Opisbo. So glad I googled his name and found the site about his scamming history. I did think it was too good to be true.

If a person wants to pay you through PayPal for say a phone or something, can that money they use to pay ever be taken away as a fraud?

David, who is in the Air Force, just tried to get me on this. He sent me a text from 617-586-8793. I am thinking of sending him this link...

Posted a Craigslist ad & got a text from (727)998-xxxx wanting responses only to email garrettfutch           

"Thanks,I'm seriously interested in buying this for my Father as a surprise gift, your asking price is quite reasonable and affordable considering others I've seen lately,I would have loved to come check it out my self but am currently in camp as military instructor for new recruits. I however squeezed out time to check this posting as all personal dealings are highly restricted here,I want this kept discreet enough until it get delivered to him and due to the fact that phone calls making are restricted......i will be paying you with my PayPal account because it's attached to my bank account and its a safe and very secure way to make payment. If my mode of payment is accepted just send me your Paypal email address,(Paypal ID) so i can pay in right away. I'll need your name, the pickup address or location and please include your PayPal email address for the payment and send me some recent pictures if available And if you don't have a PayPal account, you can easily go to WWW. Paypal. com and sign up. its very easy. I await your reply asap Thanks" "There will be a pick up agent that will come to your house to do the pick up after the payment must have been made so get back to me with your PayPal email now along with your final price so i can make the payment ASAP."

Check this one in response to a motorbike online ad (South Africa). Similar wording but this one works on an oil rig!

From: ANN VAN DER MERWE Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2018, 10:50 Subject: Re: Kx60 To: Thanks for the details, I think it's better i inform you about this. I received an email from my pick up agent am most sure i include that in my previous email, she said she won't come for the pick up unless i pay her the agent commission fee via Spar first in order to be able to schedule a pick up time, i would have love to pay them directly via Spar but there is no way i can pay online ! so i have to ask you to help me with the pick up fees, i will include the R2500 they charged to pick it up and take it my home(1st class treatment), to the payment i will sending into your PayPal account, so after i have made the payment I will need you to help me send the R2500 to my pick up agent through Spar.I will be sending total payment of R6,850 into your PayPal account ,which means R4,000 for the Item, while R2500 for the Pick-Up fee. I have also included the Spar charges which is R50 and extra R300 for the stress ok I will be making the payment if you agree to help with this. Thank you

I posted an add on craigslist for a used car, got a text from:
###### 303-219-2360 #######
that he is willing to pay full price of the car, he sounded like someone really interested by asking me questions related to the car, however, will only pay me via PayPal saying since he is away on an assignment - as soon as I told him that I'm only accepting cash or wire transfer, didn't hear back from him/her :)


Text at 11 PM from +1 213-935-2814

Am okay with the condition of its and your ad price, I am interested in buying this Item from you, And would it be available for shipping and I can pay a little extra charge for the shipping if you wish? I would like to know if you would have it ship to Tennessee for extra charge and i will pay for it? and I can pay with your paypal so get back to me with your paypal email so i can make the payment now.

My reply:
I'm sorry I will not be using PayPal for this transaction

The scammers reply:
Oh my God, i understand you. And I insisted on paypal because am not available for the pick up and pay cash and i have been ripped off using western union,money order,check and paypal protects both buyers and sellers from online transaction,so you can set your own paypal account,it is just so easy to open just logging to and follow there procedure there after you have get your own account and get back to me with your email you use to open it for the payment.

I shut them down real quick.

Received this messages just minutes after the other one offering my $400 when my asking price was $300. Red flag #1 From +1 347-913-8526 I'm making you an offer of $400 including shipping fee cause i don't have a meet up schedule and i'll be paying via PayPal. Do you accept my offer?? I'm making you an offer of $400 including shipping fee cause i don't have a meet up schedule and i'll be paying via PayPal. Do you accept my offer?? My reply: I am not using PayPal for this transaction. Their reply: I'll be paying you first before you mail out the device Actually i was advise to do PayPal,I have been ripped off doing money order, western union,cash would have been better but as you can see,the situation is not favorable.. My reply: Thanks but I'll pass. These people are a joke!

Partner just had a scammer contact him about his car that literally just went up for sale. Said they could pay through PayPal ASAP and have a courier collect. As it didn't sound right... he gave him his number and asked him to call and chat to suss the person out and asked them where they lived as to why they couldn't come themselves. Ignoring the question about location, he responded that he was deaf and very ashamed to admit this and so on. However, my dad is deaf and in situations like this he would ask us to speak on his behalf, the seller/buyer would often be able to hear him shouting in the background.

I just had a conversation with a scammer
Trying to buy my used car she wanted to use PayPal. I thought of the whole thing as odd immediately and Googled scams useing Pay Pal, My reply was how about I forward this to the feds, then I was threatened back do this now or you are gonna die she you think that this is a scammer or just a nice person that wanted to buy a used car two states away from Nevada.

>From 408-618-2155 today<

Thanks ** , am just trying to make sure its in a good condition, I wou

ld love to purchase, I'm satisfied with your price, & I'm requesting t

his transaction should be done via PayPal.

I'm a flight attendant at AA so my schedule tends to be a little crazy and I'll be flying back & forth. I'm in CA, i won't able to deal in person, but i have a Mover that will be coming for the pickup after the payment has been made and cleared. It'll be just like a Local pickup


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