Friday, October 28, 2011

Beware! Paypal/Craigslist/EbayClassified Scam Alert!!

Craigslist - EbayClassified Scam

Paying via PayPal

I want to warn everyone of this new way to scam via "Paypal". While the real Paypal is reliable and trustworthy, there are many scammers out there trying to use Paypal's good reputation to scam others. I had someone offer to buy my most expensive item for sale on Craigslist and they wanted to pay me through paypal if I shipped it to them because they're in IL. Because I've had some successful sales this way to some out of town mamas, I sent them my paypal address. I then received a bogus Paypal confirmation of a pending payment email that looked pretty official but had some variances from real Paypal emails. It looked suspicious to me, so I answered it to Paypal's address and this is their reply:

I have made the payment now. You will be receiving the payment confirmation message from PayPal regarding the payment. The shipping company wants $400 for pick up and delivery. So I made a total payment of $1,050. $600 for the Beautiful Dining Table, $400 for the shipping company, and $50 for whatever Western Union will be charging you to send the money to them. Please let me know as soon as you send them the money ASAP. Here is the shipping company details for you to send the $400:

1707 Honeysuckle Dr,
Mansfield, Ohio

NOTE: Nick or Marisa Beard
There is a scam which often originates from Craigslist. Names associated with this can be Nick Beard or Marisa Beard. The victim is asked to send a check to 1707 Honeysuckle Dr., Mansfield, OH. DO NOT SEND ANYTHING TO THIS ADDRESS! EVERYTHING SENT HERE WILL BE REFUSED!

I am STILL getting emails from the fraudulent person claiming they've sent me the money, but nothing has shown up in my paypal account (always open a new browser window and NEVER click on links whenever you have a suspicious email), either pending or received. This person is slick, claiming that I must ship the item first, then Paypal will "release" the money into my account.

Furthermore, if you receive any suspicious emails and refuse to send the item OR cash via Western Union (the "over paid" balance), you will then get a fake "warning message from Paypal", but don't fall in this trap:

The trick to avoiding being scammed in this way is to always make sure the money is actually in your account and if you have any doubts whatsoever, ask PayPal ensuring you have asked through the actual site and not relied on a link to paypal through an email.


If you get email that looks like it was sent by PayPal, and it's asking you to update your details such as your name, surname, address, bank account, credit card, etc, while you see the 'text boxes' of the "form" in this email, NEVER write your details, nor reply to this email. If you'll do so, you will send your financial details to the scammer. This is NOT the way PayPal works. PayPal's team asks you to sign into your account to update such details.

This is a scam.

Paying by Cashier Check OR Money Order Scam

The most common Craigslist scam is the fake check. Many people selling top dollar items will not accept checks at all, even if they are cashier’s checks. This is something that you should consider doing yourself, once you are aware of the fake checks now being used to rip unsuspecting sellers off.

It usually starts with someone showing seemingly sincere interest in a high price item you have listed. Sometimes they may haggle with the price to appear to be a legitimate buyer, but often they will simply accept your asking price. However, they will almost always have some excuse as to why they cannot just come purchase the item directly from you.

Some may say they are on vacation or away on business, while others may just say they live in another area or another state and would like to send you a check and have the item shipped to them, or they could claim to have someone else pick the item up later.

Next, they either send you a fake check for the item that will eventually be rejected by your bank after deposit or they will request that you give them your name, address, and phone number so they can fill out a cashier’s check to you.

In the first case they are trying to get the item for free. The fake check will eventually be dishonored by your bank, leaving you with an overdrawn account, fees for INSF checks and no item. In the second case, they are not interested in your item at all. They want your personal information to use for illegal purposes. Escrow companies are now becoming a popular Craigslist scam. Many people have been using escrow services as a way of ensuring transactions dealing with larger amounts of money are safe for both the buyer and the seller. The problem is many of these little known escrow companies are owned by the scammer on one end of the transaction.

In this case, a scammer will set up the escrow account and list an expensive item on Craigslist for a very low, tempting price. When they rope in unsuspecting buyers, they instruct them to use the escrow account to ensure everything goes smooth. The victims go to the website for the scammer’s escrow account (no knowing it is owned by the seller) and put in their personal information, including bank account or credit card number. The scammer, or “seller,” then has their personal information and access to their credit card or bank account and simply disappears to use it.

In other cases, they use the excuse that their "assistant" or "secretary" overpaid you, and they trust you to send the "balance" back via Western Union. Whay they really hope is you're cashing the Cashier Check/Money Order in a cashing sevice agency (not your bank). You will get the money and send the balance to them, but when the check is rejected, the cash agency will chase you in court to get this money back into their hands.

Here is some example:

I urgently have bring something to your notice. I just found out that my Assistant overpaid you. The payment meant for another transaction was made out in your name and sent to you. However I want to believe I wont have a problem with you on this. Once you receive the payment,
Please proceed to the bank and cash the Money order, deduct your money and send back the balance to me. So I can proceed with arrangement for pick-up. Once more, I hope I can fully trust you with this? I will await your response on this so my mind can be at rest.

Cashier Check Example:

Craigslist Scam Sites

taking advantage of Craigslist by setting up scams.....

Another common misconception that fools users online is that they accidently mistype, and end up on another site. (make sure you don’t type in or These sites are designed to look just like Craigslist, but in reality it is another scam. However, there are hundreds of typo’s that lead people to scam sites, if you are ever in doubt; go back and type it in, or Google it to make sure you are at the correct site.

4) Familiarize yourself with the Craigslist scam involving a shipper. The buyer will say the product will be picked up by a shipper--and usually also promises to wire you more money than the item actually costs. This is the most common Craigslist trick.

Tips & Warnings:

1) Type the words "for local pick up only" and "cash only" prominently in your ad--and make no exceptions. This drives away a good share of potential scammers.

2) Never deal with anyone from Craigslist that wants to pay you more than the price you listed. Never ship to an address that has not been verified by Paypal.

3) Never deal with anyone from Craigslist that mistakenly "overpaid" you.

4) Pay attention to the email address where the message came from.

5) If you are a Craigslist buyer/seller, bookmark the page, that way you will not falsely arrive at a site that is not really Craigslist.

6) Do not ever deal with anyone on Craigslist you cannot meet face to face and who won't pay cash - follow that simple rule and you'll avoid almost all scams.

7) Anyone asking you to ship is a scam.

8) Be aware of scams involving fake checks or money orders. A good fake check or money order can pass through the bank's initial screening process--then, days later, you'll get penalized for trying to cash a counterfeit check. By then, the scammer will be long gone. This is why you want to make your transaction cash only. => If you have any doubt, contact PayPal or the company which issue the Cashier Check/Money Order. You might give them the check's serial number to find out if it's a real or fake check.

9) Delete emails from potential buyers who have lengthy sob stories or complicated explanations of why they need to pay by check or money order. Anyone who says their "secretary" will take care of the transaction because they are in a foreign country or are too busy as a famous archaeologist to make the purchase in person is most likely a fraud.

10) Don't accept Western Union or other wire transfers.

11) Never give out any personal financial information to someone who has contacted you through Craigslist.

12) Find the differences:

Fake Email Notification, pay attention for the ® symbol near the word PayPal:

Real Email Notification:

13) When you get in the email message, pay attention if there is a little symbol near the word Paypal. In this case, the symbol is ® - Here is some example: ®

14) Pay attention to the email address where you got the email from. In this case, the email address is: - here is some example:

15) Paypal will never send you such an email, ordering you to pay via Western Union:

16) And finally, notify the Federal Trade Commission of any attempted or successful scams by calling 877-FTC-HELP.

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