In earlier posts I reported about an auto insurance scam on Kijiji and Craiglist and on an Air Force veteran was scammed when purchasing a motorhome off Craiglist.
PayPal is considered one of the most trusted internet sites for buying or selling items but some con artists are finding a new way to exploit it.
Since John Yonce rarely used his 2011 29-foot, one-bedroom Coachman Catalina trailer any more, he decided to advertise it for sale.
“I got a few bites but nobody is pulling the cork on it. They are just nibbling at it,” Yonce told WRDW-TV News 12.
Then he received what he thought was his first real offer. The buyer claimed to be stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California and agreed to his asking price of $20,000 and then some.
“He wanted to pay me what I asked for it plus $950 shipping,” says Yonce.
He said that he would send the money by PayPal using his credit card,” says Yonce.
But first, “he wanted me to wire him $950 to somebody in San Diego through Western Union.”
That’s when Yonce’s instincts warned him that something was very wrong and that he was about to get scammed. A phone call to PayPal confirmed that it was a scam.
The email looked like it was from PayPal but a closer inspection revealed some warning signs:
- PayPal will always address you in an email by using your first and last name, not your email address
- PayPal emails do not contain poor grammar or mention the FBI to gain your confidence that a transaction is safe
Be skeptical if someone wants to make an immediate purchase at the asking price with no questions asked. Also any requests for overnight shipping and be wary of PayPal notices sent to your email.
PayPal offers the following advice on how to handle “phishing” attempts to steal your personal information.
Avoid email scams and spot fake emails claiming to be from PayPal.
Fake PayPal emails – phishing
You may receive a fake email that claims to be from PayPal. Sending fake emails is called “phishing” because the sender is “fishing” for your personal information.
The email may ask you to: Visit a fake or “spoof” website and enter personal information. Call a fake Customer Service number. Click an attachment that installs malicious software on your computer.
When you aren’t sure if you can trust an email claiming to be from PayPal, here are two guidelines that can help you to spot the real from the fake: PayPal emails will always use your first and last name, or your business’s name PayPal emails will never ask for your personal or account information such as credit or debit card numbers, bank account details, driver’s license number, email addresses, or passwords
If you suspect an email is fake, don’t open it. Don’t reply to the email, click any links, or download any attachments.
How do I report PayPal fraud or a PayPal Scam?
Forward any suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then, delete the suspect email.
Travel safely…and stay away from road-gaiters and orange barrels.