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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
Scam Tags:  Phishing Scams

Comments

i was scammed by the same way asking to post and asking could i write a birthday message as was a gift got the email which looked like from pay pal saying money will be cleared once i send proof of postage i did all this and was a scam luckily it took a long time but i sat outside the house it was being delivered to as was only 3 mile from me i sat there every morning from 5am until the post van came i informed them what had gone on although they couldnt hand me my parcel they had a feeling that the ammount of parcels they took there must be a scam so they made sure they didnt deliver it i eventually got the item back after waiting the 18 days to return to sender some vile evil beings out there

Just wanted to contribute that we posted a car on Craigslist yesterday and received the same email reply - our guy was in Fort Campbell. My husband shared his cellphone number before I researched and found this to be a scam. His number is not connected to PayPal, but should I be concerned???

Just got soemthing similar!! Thank God I looked this up to see jf t was a scam

Thanks for your response, I am a military man and currently deployed to a remote area until March 20th. 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. (www. paypal com) 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.

Got the same one today 1/20/2018 , WATCH OUT!

Hi .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 work as Air Force, E7, MSgt Master Sergeant, Name Baliy James) currently deployed to a remote area until May 30. We have a bad and fluctuating network here otherwise I would have preferred to seal the deal via phone call so email and text messages work best for me at the moment.

Nevertheless, I believe we can seal the deal right away because I am ready to pay you via my PayPal account that is attached to my bank account as that is the only secure form of payment that I have access to right now. Kindly get back to me with your full name, PayPal email and cell phone number so that I can initiate the payment immediately. If you don't have a PayPal account, it is absolutely free to set one up, kindly visit www. paypal. com and set up one.

Furthermore, I will hire shipper that will come for the pickup,inspection to make sure it conforms to your description and also do the necessary paperwork on my behalf as soon as we are done with the payment part of the transaction. If this is a deal let me have the requested PayPal info then we can go from there.Thanks

I received the following message, they filled out a contact form on our website and the ip address originated from Nigeria.

Message: How are you doing today, I'm Sgt. Bruce I want to apologies for not calling direct than email. I'm in the US Army National Guard, presently stationed here in Alabama, Redstone Arsenal Military Base where I'm not able to make calls at the moment. But I assure you that you can reach me anytime via e-mail or sms text which I believe is better to communicate as well, I hope you understand my situation so kindly bare with me.

Further more, I like to know if you can guide my 4 children who are coming to the city in 2 weeks time during their holiday vacation. Their age are range from 13-24YRS. I want a private tour for 2 hours per person for 2 days so making a total of 4 hours each person for the 2 days and I want afternoons and evenings time. So I want you to calculate and get back to me with your total charges for your service and let me know your open dates in the next 2 weeks or perhaps we can work on your dates if suitable.

Also I like to know if you do accept all major credit card as a mode of payment.Thank You.Bruce bruce.m49 @ yahoo.com

Wow, we received the exact same email. The poor writing and the "not able to make phone calls but..." made me wonder if this is legit. We do get weird requests sometimes but this takes the cake.

I received this email shortly after posting an ad on Autotrader. Then I forwarded it to fraud dept @ Autotrader.

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 www .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: Phone Number- Firm Price: Zip code for pickup: Happy New Year Seth

I received the same:

-----Original Message----- From: Seth Erickson Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2018 10:51 AM Subject: Re: 2002 SAAB 9-5 Linear 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 www. 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: Phone Number- Firm Price: Zip code for pickup: Regards Seth

I am selling my Audi online and I got this email:

From: Reza Farhady <farhadyreza090@ gmail.com>Date: 27 January 2018 at 16:08Subject: Re: Car
Thanks for the response,I would have loved to call you directly but due to the nature of my work, I work with the The British Army Corps. we do not have access to phone at the moment,which is why I contacted you with internet messaging facility.

i am buying this for my first son who just graduated on top of his class at Dublin City University, I want it to be the perfect graduation gift for him and am making it a surprise package ,Does it have any history I should be aware of? and why are you selling if you don't mind my asking. I don't mind adding an extra £200.00 for you just to take down the posting..I am already in talks with freighters that will handle the pickup and delivery .I will really appreciate if you can email more info

Due to the nature of my work i am a very busy man working all day, am a (Operating officer) am presently on-board, i don't have access to my bank account online as am not with my credit card details here but i have my Bank Account link up with my PayPal account so I will be paying you through Account to your nominated bank account or better still is if you have a PayPal account ,please get back to me with your Sort Code , Account Number and Account name or PayPal account so i can proceed with the payment and contact the courier agent who will come to pick it up and deliver it for my son .Await your reply

IT IS A SCAM! Thank you for your info I reported it to spoof@ paypal.com and deleted from my inbox

Appreciate the online community warning about the scam. i also got a message from hannabolst1313 @gmail.com showing interest for the electric bike I posted.

After I post a ued car selling AD, one guy send me a text asking me to send his dad a email about the AD. After the email, his dad reply:

Thanks for your e-mail. My name is Bill Wright. I am contacting you from the United States Air base, 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 want to buy this for someone really dear to me as a surprise, which i don't want the person to know about. So can you assure me i will not be disappointed buying this from you ? I also have a few questions for you. Whats its condition, any damages? Are you the original owner and why are you selling it ? Do you have a Paypal account ? Do you have any offer's yet ? Looking forward to read back from you

Then I reply this email, his dad send me another one: "Thanks for the understanding and swift response, I do appreciate the way you answered my questions!. I'm satisfied with it's condition and i believe i won't be disappointed. I want you to know am serious in purchasing it and am sure the person is gonna love and enjoy it more than you did. 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, as I look forward hearing from you with your PayPal information as requested below. Your PayPal e-Mail Address : PayPal Account User Name: Firm Price: Home Address/ Pickup location Info & Cell Phone Number#: "

I got mine from a 408 area code too. The first was a text stating he was doing some guy a favor. I was asked to e-mail an address that would be the person buying from me.
Once e-mail the person stated he was an E-9 in the USAF and his name was Daniel Simpson. After I told him I would not use PayPal, he stopped e-mailing me.

Add another AKA to the list: "Rhonda Gary", but goes by the name Mrs. Rhonda, and she is buying the car for "My Birthday", and wished me a "Happy New Month". I think I'm going to just put an ad in the (paper) newspaper...

Got one today - 2/1
Adrian at (201) 570-4962
Claims he’s offshore... Damn well better be!

I listed our RV (trailer) for sale yesterday and almost immediately got three "scam" responses, they were all "way" of our area and they wanted to pay with pay pal and have a company pick-up our trailer (which looks like a well used scam) The three phone #s are; Jesse @ 720-358-6306, #2; 405-247-0285, #3; 929-800-6048 & his email is; eric0636 @ gmail.com

I got the 720-358-6306 number as well wanting to buy my festival tickets. Said they were going to pay a driver $400 to pick up $600 tickets (that was the red flag for me) and wanted to use PayPal. Once I said cash only. I haven't heard anything back!

Just had this happen from a mike dean. Trying to Scam my hubby.. what a sad world we live in..

Does anyone have experience with ”Kate Faber” from
E2 Enterprises
P.O. Box 73815
Puyallup, WA 98373

The Kate Faber person reached out to us to buy bulk Mary Kay products. Whoever it is knows the PayPal process & USPS shipping rates. We are undecided if we went to send a payment request. Too bad the public trust is destroyed! You can't trust anyone about anything at anytime anymore.

I got one the other day and we have been talking back and forth. Has anyone sent her anything to verify it is real or a scam?

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.

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