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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

I just received an email from her about some product I'm selling. So what I'm seeing is that it is all a scam?

Did you end up doing a sale with this person? They reached out to me as well and sent an offer on my products but I’m hesitant to move forward. My first instinct was scam.

Does anyone know if she is real or fake?? She offered to buy most of my inventory.

Got one from MonaLisa today!! I already knew it was a scam. How fn stupid do they think we are?

I advertised my bike for sale. Within minutes I got an sms from Hanna Bolstad asking to communicate further via email. She too wanted my bike at asking price. Saying she was in Norway and didn't need to see the bike as it looked good in the pics. Also proposing doing the transaction through PayPal. Fortunately I check up and came across all these other posts about the scam and Hanna Bolstad.

The exact same thing happened yesterday with my piano add. She wanted to buy without seeing it, claiming she is working offshore and has no online banking. Yeah sure. In Scandinavia it is not possible to not have a bank account (without online banking). People are just so mean. Luckily most people are not stupid.

Yup got one on from army base in lackland Texas. Asked for me to send a request for money to a non military email account. Once payment is processed he will have the truck picked up.

thanks for this info. we had a very similar scenario today with a truck we are selling. he was a marine who could only email no cells, and who could only pay via paypal. would have a truck pick it up and look at it after the money had cleared. we thought it odd he was willing to buy sight unseen. just didn't feel right.

972 483 4547 contacted me about my laptop. His name kevin. Saying he is at a funeral bt wants me to ship it to his son for work. Willing to send a extra $200

This guy still does the same things.I receive text says"Hi, My name is Kevin. I have read your post of XXX. and I want to buy it for my son presently working with the AIES." He wants to me mail the laptop and pays it online. Luckly I saw your post. Thanks bro.

Same here! Kevin contacted me about my laptop as well. Asked for an ID since we did not meet up in person before shipping my laptop and he started freaking out and getting extra defensive. Googled his number and thankfully got here!

I received a message this morning from a Craigslist scammer wanting to buy my motorcycle. He asked if it was available, I said yes. He asked for my email and the condition of the bike and said he was stationed in Hansom AFB in MA.I asked him if he was in the military, because I retired from the AF. He didnt comment, but he said he would send the payment and the shipping cost through Paypal. So he sent me three emails with instructions to send him the shipping payment and he will send the money through PayPal. Fake Paypal images, and bogus addresses are the key to spam emails. I told him to get a job and stop scamming people. 351-202-0693

He just tried to use the same spiel on me. Thanks for posting this!

We just received an inquiry to purchase a car we are selling. From the one and only Hanna Bolstad in Norway. Starts by sounding interested, asked for a video of the car to be sent. Then sent another subsequent email saying that we must send all paypal details, phone number and address and they will pay us from their side, Also (kindly!) offered to cover all Paypal transaction fees. They were going to arrange their own "Agent" to transport the car after the money had cleared - they just needed our home address. Glad we decided to do a quick google search as it wasn't sitting right. Thanx for the heads up!

Thank you for posting about that Hanna Bolstad lady. Turns out she's using someone's name who has passed on long ago. I almost got screwed over with my horse cart. I thought something was off when someone from Norway wanted to buy something from me in South Africa. Then I decided to Google her and came to this site. What dark times we live in

Hanna Bolstad Scam artist. She* just wanted to buy my bike out of Norway. Ai

Just happened to me. Same story. Didn't even change the name! I was fortunate enough to Google him first and the FTC article came up.

I received the similar email.

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 future use. I am currently deployed wont be back till March. We are not allowed to make or receive calls frequently for security reasons but we have internet access and that is our major means of communication to the outside world. I am OK with your asking price and if you don't m ind, I can only pay through PayPal at the moment be cause 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. Whats its condition, any damages? Can I see a few closely taken pictures? Are you the original owner and what is your rea son for selling? I hope you consider my offer. I am ready to buy, so you can take the add off Craigslist. I'll have a courier person come for pick up and storage after I make payment and money is in your hand. Thanks for understanding, hope to read from you soon

His name is Allen Bryan.

Guys has anyone ever gotten an email from David Perez ? Cause all these emails sound like the 1 i got

I received this today via email and another one via text very similar:

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

Just received this:

From: Jorge Dias Date: March 23, 2018 at 10:28:04 AM CDT Subject:

Re: Toyota Camry Thanks for your response...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 it 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: Phone Number: Many Thanks

Just received below email.. Highly suspicious ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Kimberly Mullins Date: 6 April 2018 at 10:13 Subject: Re: Toyota To: ME :) Thanks for your response, I am satisfied with the condition,please consider it sold and cancel every other appointment regarding it, I will arrange for the collection after payment has been sorted, I will not be able to come for view it because of my based, i have gone through your advert and I'm totally satisfied with it and I will be glad if you can get back to me with some pictures if available. As for the payment,i will be paying you via the fastest and secure way to pay online(PayPal) because it is very safe and secure,i can also transfer money from my paypal wire bank transfer to your paypal account. As for the collection i have a private courier that will come for the collection after the payment have been made and clears in your account. You can now send me your paypal email address,lowest asking and full name so i can pay in now and also include your based address for the collection and phone number. looking forward to hear you back....

Just received one from 7472338937 sounds great! i'll take it am ready to buy it now as a gift for my son. firstly, I have arranged for a pickup agent( Shipper ) who will be coming to pick it . . Secondly, text back with ur paypal e-mail to make payment asap

Just received one from 7472338937 sounds great! i'll take it am ready to buy it now as a gift for my son. firstly, I have arranged for a pickup agent( Shipper ) who will be coming to pick it . . Secondly, text back with ur paypal e-mail to make payment asap

I've had this person going for a few days now playing dumb and just generally trying to waste their time. If everyone just played dumb and wasted scammers time instead of ranting at them or ignoring them they would give up bc their success rate would be sooooo low!

from phone # 240-435-7898: I'm interested in your car and will like to know if you are; Are you the first owner? Why are you selling it? Is it in good condition? Do you have carfax history? Regards Colonel Cole

I'm presently with 305th Air Mobility Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst, N.J. I've been here for some time and being responsible for managing all air operations at McGuire Field and Maxfield Runway is demanding and tasking, I won't be able to come for it, I will have a pickup agent come for it on my behalf.

This transaction be done via PayPal and the PayPal charges are on me, so I will like to proceed with payment. Do let me know if you have a PayPal account?

Got the same text from 240-435-7898, "Colonel Cole". Asking all the same questions about a car listed for sale, and wanting to pay via PayPal, sight unseen.

I got this same text as well. It's a scam.

(508) 556-9873 claiming to be out of state in the military wants to send me paypal and will then have his "mover" pick up the item. I said cash only.

Scammer name is Donald Watt. He claims to be in the U.S. Air Force as a CMSgt (E-9) his phone number is 208-480-1134 and his email is donald.w 90845@ gmail.com He is trying to do the PayPal scam.

I wonder what pay-pal is doing to protect their customers and not the scammers?

Just had the exact same thing happen with a David Walker - buying a car for his brother... He’s no longer military now - now he’s a wildlife underwater photographer and thus can’t call. Scum

Just had a similar situation happen to me. Posted a laptop on LETGO for sale. They messaged me and asked me to send them an invoice from my paypal. So I did that. As they were "paying" for it he "MIKE" wrote to me and said that he was sending double what I was asking as long as I sent it overseas to his niece who is traveling. As soon as I got that message I started researching and noticed that the confirmation message I got from "PAYPAL" wasn't real. It was a fake message used to try and steal my information. Please be careful! The scammers are everywhere!

"chief master sgt" (e-9) of the air force trying to buy my heavily modified mustang claiming "my brother will enjoy it more than you"

lol - the latest is tonyjohn1231@ gmail.com - same story, i have a car for sale, he cant see it as on base (a lot of military need cars!!) whats my paypal details etc. I've even told him Im a Money Laundering Prevention officer for a bank (which I am, have been in this type of role over 20 years) and he still insists on going ahead, so I'm going to have some fun :-)

Very similar text message for my Craigslist used car today. Person is on Air Force in Texas and will have moved pick up car (paying full price after asking 2 basic questions about it). I asked him to provide me with more info, including his CO, so I could call and confirm things. This would be similar for a landlord to request a service member's CO so they could contact the CO if rent was late/not paid. If it was legit the person would be fine providing that info (since it is common). Of course I haven't heard anything back....

Mine is an Ebay item. This is now the new scam. I bid and won. Seller has 0 feedback. I still bid thinking it is a good deal. A little hesitant, seller not new but with 0 feedback. After sending seller message to send with signature confirmation, he replied right away. But when I asked for tracking no reply and the next day I saw usps tracking. I feel i got scam, something fishy because the bidding did not go high, tolkowsky diamond set, originally purchased for $8k, and i bid up to $1,000, won for $936. To make it short, was delivered to a different address with same zip code of mine. I never got the item, but showed delivered. I called Ebay and told
Them I feel this is a scam and seller’s account was hacked, because item was shipped from GA., seller account says from North Carolina. Ebay open the case for me, and I started to type to send message to seller through my phone, but i stopped for awhile. When I continue to finish typing, I submit and the next screen showed, Case closed! I am so lost, what just happened? I did not close the case at all! I called Ebay and explain, they said once closed, Paypal will be my other resort. Then they said, I typed before I closed the words “ ITEM RECEIVED”. What the heck? I did not type those words. I believed he hacked my account too, and closed the case himself! I was so shocked. I lost a day of sleep thinking about it, I just got scammed for $936. I went to the post office, and was told that it was delivered to an address (NOT MY ADDRESS), when I researched, it is a RESTAURANT in my area. I called Paypal and explained. Thank God, Paypal closed the case in my favor. LESSON- be careful, and IF TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, It is not true! I changed my password too, and security questions. Allso, try to set a 2 step notification in your ebay account. Every time you log in, they send you a pin at your phone. Take care everyone! We need to be smarter than these scammers!

Just had a scammer try this out on me i have a vehicle posted on Craigslist.

Scammer 99 cavalier - $1600 ...Hello! Do you Still have it for sale? I'm Ashley Me Yes it is still available Scammer Ok How long have you been using it, Any damages and are you the first owner ? Me I am not the first owner and there is some body damage the interior is not the best but it is a solid car it runs and drives great it is my husbands daily driver he has had it for a little over a year but he needs a bigger vehicle for work. Scammer Ok Do you have a pay-pal account to receive payment for it? Me My husband has a pay pal account set up i can get his info for you in the morning before he leaves for work. Scammer Okay i will be looking forward for that, do you have any other recent pics to send also? Me I do not but i can take some in the morning. Where are you located i noticed you don't have a local number. Scammer Okay thanks and i will be looking forward..Good night i just moved to Dallas Tx,hope that is not a problem? i have not find time to change to the new area phone code Me No not a problem just didn't recognize the area code dallas is quite a drive from corpus are you in town to purchase? Scammer I have a private courier agent that will come for the pick up once the payment clears...so no shipping included and With the issue of my details,transferring the name of ownership and signing of all paperwork will be done by the courier services company agent, and they will be handling the title for me She says her name is Ashley and the phone number she used is 973-814-7910 watch out people.

Same scam, Kevin from Texas was deaf so couldn't call to talk in person. Would have courier pick up van, after I had the money. Glad I checked on paypal scams first.

This site has great awareness but unfortunately I didn't see this in advance of being scammed. I listed a diamond wedding ring on ebay and received an email from ebay saying that it had been sold. Shortly after that I received another email from what appeared to be from ebay stating that the item should be shipped providing the buyers email address and a confirmed shipping address and stating that funds had been processed to PayPal. I then received a email from what appeared to be PayPal advising me that funds had been received but held until proof of shipping, at which time funds would be released. I shipped and provided proof of shipping. When the release did not occur I became suspicious and contacted PayPal only to find out that they never sent an email nor were there any funds pending in my account. I also co tasted ebay and filed for resolution, only to be advised that I must contact local police, file a IC3 fraud claim, and file with the US Postal Service inspectors. I don't know any other actions to take to get compensated. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

This is what the scammer sent me:
INTERSTED IN UR BIKE DO U STILL HAVE IT ????

Okay sound good,i have look at other ads but it is nothing compare to yours,what is the condition and the last asking price?

Okay sound good ,i am okay with it and i am ready to purchase it , i am a Sgt in the USA military ,i am currently deployed,and i got the pics you posted about it...do you got more???

Okay sound good,i have look at other ads but it is nothing compare to yours,what is the condition and the last asking price?
Okay good.... i am really interested buying it from you and i am okay with the price , i wont be able to come for the pick up ,because i am currently deployed , but i will hire a shipper who will come for the pickup ,and also do the necessary paperwork on my behalf as soon as we are done with the payment part of the transaction

I am comfortable paying you via PayPal to complete this transaction because of their security when it comes to online transactions. Let me have your PayPal details ( Account name,PayPal Email and the Pick up Address so that I can initiate the payment

Thanks for getting back to me...I got your PayPal details and as soon as I heard back from my private mover who will be there for the pickup I will be making the payment asap

What's your firm price???

I got that once I heard back from my private mover who will be there for the pickup I will be making the payment

I had the same wording just today from someone claiming to want to purchase my car

“i apologize for the late reply, i am sorry for that. Okay good i got the pictures, i am very interested in it and i am okay with the price , i wont be able to come for the pick up ,because i am currently deployed , but i will hire a shipper who will come for the pick up ,and also do the necessary paperwork on my behalf as soon as we are done with the payment part of the transaction

I am comfortable paying you via PayPal to complete this transaction because of their security when it comes to online
transactions. Let me have your PayPal details ( Account name,PayPal Email and the Pick up Address so that I can initiate the payment...”

This is my message from today. 5/26/18

The price and condition are okay. I'm ready to pay the price, I want to buy this for my Dad as his birthday gift.I'm just asking about it to make sure it’s in good condition. I'm presently deployed out of town because I work with the Military and have been in camp for some time and due to my deployment i will not be able to come for inspection, I have a mover coming for it on my behalf. So i am requesting this transaction should be done via PayPal so the PayPal charges are on me and PayPal is very safe and I have access to my funds there that's the only reason why PayPal is the only payment option. I am straight up with you and I want you to be honest with me as well. Hoping for an eloquent business with you. Details needed are Your Paypal email address: Firm price: Full Name: Cell phone number

I got one from Maj Coleman. Idaho national army gaurd in Boise. Wants me to pay $900 via walmart2walmart to his pickup agent. Playing with him for a bit... Does anyone not report this to the cops?

I got a similar one who claimed to work for a construction company in a remote area. He cannot make phone and cannot come to look at the furnitures I am selling. Only Paypal.

"Hi, My name is Justin. Am very interested, please send more general close up pictures because I won't be able come inspect it due to work location. I am currently working at a local area with Turner Const. which makes it very hard for me to make phone calls due to bad network reception. As for payment, I can only make the payment through PayPal if acceptable which I believe is the most secured for online transactions. I will send a freight agent for pickup at your preferred location once payment is confirmed and cleared. I have few questions;

Where do you live? What is your final asking price ? Does it have anything negative i should know about? Email back to know if my offer is accepted so that we can proceed, I hope to hear from you soon.

I believe PayPal is the best way to send money online and it is safe and secure, it is very easy to open an account with them and Kindly send me your PayPal money request or simply get back to me with the total cost of the item and your PayPal email ID so that i can proceed with the payment asap..And i want you to know that you are very much safe with them and also i the buyer as well."

A CBRN Specialist(74D) buying my dirt bike as a “birthday surprise gift” for his son, these guys are ruthless, he’s the fourth cbrn specialist to contact me in 3 daysXD

I got 1 even better today it was a text message. Beware his name is Rowland 347-667-1593 his email address is a woman's name @gmail. com & he was very insistant about me setting up a pay pal acctt to buy my camper. Was going to have a freight company come pick it up! He is out of Prescott, Arizona. I called Pay pal and this was a first for them.

Just listed a car this afternoon on Cars.com and received the email below within 2 hours!

​Thanks for your response. Please understand that I am not around for inspection due to the nature of my job, I serve in the U.S Army as a CAS(Civil Affairs Specialist (38B)) currently on active duty and it's been quite busy on the field these days with lots of restrictions, strictly no calls for security reasons but we have secure access to the internet as our major means of communication for OK with your asking price and if you don't mind, I can only pay through PayPal at the moment because it's 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, it's pretty easy to set up at www. paypal. com. I have a few questions for you.

Are you the original owner? How long have you owned it? Whats its condition, any damages and what is your reason for selling? I hope you consider my offer. I am ready to buy. I'll arrange for pick up after you have confirmed and received payment. Thanks for understanding, hope to read from you soon.

Another scammer at (510) 254-7470. Claims" I am ready to purchase...I a Sgt in the US military, I am currently deployed...I won't be able to pick up but I will hire a shipper...I am comfortable paying via Paypal...let me have your Paypal details..." Watch out folks!

Got the same crook today, 1 hour after posting an ad on craigslist. same number 510-254-7470

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