Online sellers stung by scammers spoofing PayPal brand

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Selling your used stuff online has become commonplace. So have scams taking advantage of the good names of reputable online companies. At the FTC, we’ve heard from people stung by scammers spoofing PayPal. The scam generally goes like this: You post a high-value item, like a used car, for sale online. In no time at all, you get an email from a buyer willing to pay full price — or more! But he sets conditions; he is only willing to pay by PayPal or insists the sale must happen right away. What’s really going on? A ruse to steal your personal information, money or merchandise.

Here are some suspicious situations to look for and steps to safe selling online:

Scenario One: The buyer claims he can only pay via PayPal. Don’t have a PayPal account? No problem, he says. He’ll send you an email with a link so you can set one up.

What should you do? Don’t take the bait. The link will send you to a website masquerading as PayPal. Any information you enter will be collected by the bogus buyer, and may be used to commit fraud. If you need to set up an account, go directly to

Scenario Two: “Check your email!” The buyer claims he has sent payment to your PayPal account with additional funds so you can ship the merchandise ASAP, but oops, he sent too much money. He asks you to return the extra money via a money wiring service. It’s all a lie, including the extra money the buyer says he included.

What should you do? Log into your PayPal account. Make sure you’ve been paid before you ship. Never follow links in emails from people you don’t know. The safest approach is to open a browser window, navigate to, and log in yourself. Also, if the buyer claims to have sent extra money, and asks for some back, that’s a big red flag.

Scenario Three: The buyer sends you real money through a real PayPal account, and you ship him the car. Problem is, the PayPal account belongs to someone else! You might need to return the money even though the scammer has your wheels.

What now? Contact PayPal and ask them to open an investigation. The company offers seller protections so you aren’t liable for unauthorized transactions. Also file a complaint with the FTC and your local police department.

Learn how to recognize and avoid common online scams. And contact PayPal at if you’ve been stung by a PayPal spoof. The company wants to hear from you.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money


Please send this to all paypal users. Thanks Regards

A woman wants to buy my ring on She asks how I want to be paid, i say PayPal. Then she says the money has been sent. I get an email from PayPal but it's a fraudulent site saying the amount plus an extra amount for registered post in pending and will be transferred to my account on proof of dispatching the ring. When I go to my PayPal account, there is no money pending. Be careful.

""Alright. My name is Greenblatt Joseph and am okay with its conditions and i'm buying this for someone very dear to me as a gift and i don't want him to know about it, am not in town at the moment because am in the Army and i am E-4, So can you assure me i will not be disappointed buying this from you ? I have a mover that will come for pickup once payment clears first. Do you have a PayPal account ?"
From.. +1 (970) 601-0123

same thing happened to me. I hate scammers

I just had an almost identical message from a scammer wanting to buy a motorcycle I have listed on eBay. My scammer was an Army E-6 though, outranking your scammer ;)
To verify his identity, I asked him to send me an email from his military account. That shut him up.
Name he used was Gary Gardner (203) 590-2869 BEWARE!!!!

Mine's an Air Force Major who outranks all your enlisted guys. He writes pretty much the same stuff, though.

Holy cow. Same thing happened to me today but he said he was Colton Gardner, an E6 from Wisconsin. Wanted to buy my motorcycle for his brothers birthday!

I just got my 4th call ,4 different people, try to get me to set up a PayPal account. A little annoying.

Thank you for posting this. Colton Gardner just emailed me about a motorcycle.

Same person emailed me yesterday about an hour after I posted my motorcycle. Here is what he said;
Thanks for your email,

First of all, here's a little background about me,

My name is Colton Gardner. I'm in the United States Army, Staff Sergeant (E-6), but I am currently not in town at the moment as I am currently on deployment and we are not allowed to make or receive calls frequently as phones communication's are restricted but we do have internet access and that is our major means of communication to the outside world. So let’s get back to business!

I'm purchasing this for my brother as a birthday gift and he's not aware of me doing this because am making it a surprise for him. So can you assure me I won't be disappointed buying this from you? Also, I do have a few questions I would love to ask about it.

What's the condition, Any damages?
Are you the original owner?
Would love to know the reason why selling it?
Does it have any mechanical issues?
Can you send me more pictures?
Do you have the title in hand?
Is there a lien on the title?
Do you have a verified account with PayPal?
Do you have any offer's yet?

Looking forward to read back from you and I hope you can respond and answer my questions appropriately in your next e-mail.

I am glad I found this site first.

Just had the same thing happen from 512-575-9177
"i am presently in camp as a military man so am making this as a special birthday give for my son...send me the email address you use for the paypal account so i can pay for this now..."

If it sounds to good to be true, IT IS.

Received the almost identical email from Wesley Porter, E-5 Sergeant, US Army. The questions he asked were word for word as above. Wanted to pay with PayPal and have a hauler carrier come and pick up my motorcycle. Beware, as the Pay Pal Seller Protection Policy is void if the seller allows the item to be picked up. What probably happens is that he files a 'claim' with PP to get his money back, while I am out my money and my motorcycle. Be careful.

I gut got the same exact email. Same questions and everything.

i got one from tim walker who is on base for training lasting several weeks. phone number area code starts with 312. he said he was going to send me money paypal. I just let them talk and he declared not to be a scam. His email would arrive in spam. and what do you know. the usual spam mail. Spoof caught it and he tried to get me to send 900$ back. PFFFT get the hell out. They will try to lie about anything. I have read where people have lost their cars and money because they stole someones account and paid you. The car was picked up and all.

Posted my vehicle on Craigslist SEMO. Within an hour got a text to my phone asking me to email Matthew Ballard. First emai gave lots of detail - E-5 Petty Officer, Navy, buying for brother's birthday. Details and syntax set up red flags. I responded answering their questions and asked about brother. Next email was "can't come in person" "car hauler will pick up but only uses PayPal" "oh, by the way, here's a link..." Lots of alarm bells ringing by this point and after checking here those concerns were confirmed. I asked for his CO Name Rank and contacts, I doubt that i will hear back from them. Thanks to everyone that posted here.

Same happen to
Me trying to sell my car in craigl list someone from the navy through paypal... when seems too easy is a scam!!!!

I pretty much got the same email this morning about 30 minutes after I posted my truck on Craigslist.

I recently posted a high end road bike and have had this kind of stuff happen. One asked for my location, I never give my address out for any reason to anyone. Another wanted to do the whole PayPal thing but i declined and offered to invoice them & accept payment through my Square card reader account, of course they declined. One wanted to set up for their shipper to pick up to take to a city 2 hours from me, I turned around & offered to take a road trip to drop it off myself but they never responded. I love giving them alternatives to their "dilemmas".

I guess these scammers are "changing", my guy is in the Marines! !!

I pretty much have the same offer word per word unless somebody can come over to your house and show you cash don't buy nothing don't trust any of that crap half of us are very technologically advanced enough to get on a computer don't kid yourself that you're smart enough to outsmart these people that have done it for years, insist on cash only Cold Hard Cash

I had this today a text message to say contact them on this email Great! please consider it sold as i am willing to pay your full asking price because i need to buy it for my cousin asap, i have read through the advert and i'm totally satisfied with it,sadly i would not be able to come personally to collect due to my hearing loss and me being on wheelchair. I would appreciate if you email me with more photos (if available) since i'm unable to see it in person. I have a courier agent that would help me to pick it up at your preferred location after you have received your money and i'll pay you via PayPal today.
Where is the pick up location so that i can inform the courier agent about it

I've just had exactly the same message about a car I have for sale!

Bianca Grove Today at 11:33 AM To Message body Thanks , am just trying to make sure its in a good condition, I would love to purchase, I'm satisfied with your price,I'm requesting this 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 won't able to deal in person, so cash is not an option for me... but i have a Mover that will be coming for the pickup after the payment has been made and cleared.

From: craigslist  Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2017 11:33:20 AM To: Subject: Re: Lenox china Tuxedo pattern - $2500 (Sandy Springs) It is all excellent. It has always been hand washed so there is no wear on the gold.

I told her to send the money to my email address at PP. Never heard back. Does AA fly to Nigeria?

The same exact person just tried to scam me using the SAME message. I told her cash or no deal. Never heard back.

I just received the exact Craigslist response from 'Joani' (408) 618-2155... word for word. Sellers beware.

Getting more sophisticated asked what condition the article was in. Strange number so I looked up number under google and found multiple complaints. Used name Zoe.

And me! Via for my car here in London.

"Thanks for getting back to me, whats the recent condition and also why u selling it,are u the original owner,how recent are the pics on the ad?
I am OK with your asking price and if you dont mind, I can only pay through PayPal at the moment due to my work and pickup agent is avail to come and pick it up after payment made,all i need is the email u use in setting it up and ur name so that i can make the payment and u will be notify by paypal as soon as am done.arrangement for the picking follows as paypal will update u on that after transaction completed"

Got the identical emails!

I'm a flight attendant at AA so my schedule tends to be a little crazy and I'll be flying back & forth, i won't able to deal in person, so cash is not an.... Goes on, thought it was funny cuz my name is rob as well haha!!

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

+14086183622 Ann Grove Great, I'm a flight attendant at AA so my schedule tends to be a little crazy and I'll be flying back & forth, i won't able to deal in person, so cash is not an option for me... but i have a Mover that will be coming for the pickup after the payment has been made and cleared. Hi, I have completed the payment and i expect you to have gotten the confirmation email from paypal about it and the pickup process.I wanted to let you know i added the pick up agent commission fee in your payment because the pick up agent only accepts payment via Western Union Transfer which i couldn't do due to my current location.Kindly look into your INBOX or SPAM for notification alert from paypal and let me know if you got and understand the process As per the email sent to me which is similar to yours,The payment is on hold until you follow the instruction given to you, which is for you to make the transfer of the added $400 upfront via western union to the mover name and address HQ and email the western union details to paypal by replying to the confirmation email you got about the payment along with a picture of western union receipt for verification and your account will be Reimbursed with total funds for withdrawal.. Do you understand now?

This just happened today. So sketchy!!!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Seemed too good to be real lol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Please check out our tips for getting your money back.

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

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


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