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PayPal Scam: How I could have lost a lot of money

Just very recently I posted something for sale on those online sites (Kijiji, Craig’slist, etc)… and right away, I got an offer for the full amount.

My fraud alert sort of rings a little bit because you negotiate everything you buy, but I think: Okay, let’s see if this is real.. .I mean, really I’m thinking: GREAT! I sold these stupid things now I can get rid of them and off my back.


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…then I get this very spoof-y, suspicious email that not only seems to pay me the entire amount, in US Dollars no less (I listed in Canadian dollars) but has curiously also paid a transportation and broker fee. To ME.

I see this scammy email from:

ALEX FLOYD of Paypal Merchandise Payment Service:

My fraud alert goes into overdrive because…

A) Everyone negotiates. IT’S WHAT YUH DO.

B) No one gives away free money to someone especially if I listed in $CAD and it money in $USD which is at a crazy exchange rate right now (30 cents on the dollar)

C) They gave me MORE money to cover “transportation” and “money fees”… which means that if they give me the money, then I’d have to presumably, give money to someone else down the line to pay them. I’d have to pass along this money (also called a pass-through expense, by the way), and it would come out of my pocket.

This is when all the alarm bells went off. Why the hell wouldn’t the buyer pay the shipping fee directly ahead of time, but give me money instead to pass along to a third party? This is not right. It doesn’t sound right, smell right or look right.

The second email I get is to send money to a TAMMY FIERS in MELBOURNE FLORIDA:

I naturally did not at all fall for this scam, but I know other people out there are not quite as betchy and suspicious as yours truly (I have been on the nets for a long time my friends), and could possibly be so sweet and trusting as to think this was for real and still legit.

They say that seniors are tricked the most out of their money, are the most trusting, most naive and unable to really fathom that people could (A) do this, and (B) be so sneaky considering they themselves are not that hot with technology (most of them, not all).

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Asking for $CAD and I get paid in $USD? Nuh uh, honey. Unless it’s a house on the hot real estate market meant to spark a bidding war, would you ever pay over the asking price?

If they are asking you to pass along expenses to third parties, REFUSE

They can pay those people directly. You are there to collect cash for what you are selling. No passing through of expenses, kthxbye.

If they are asking you to follow instructions that seem far out of the norm (e.g. wire this amount to this person, this and that), REFUSE.

Log into your Paypal accounts separately

I could have clicked on links, followed the instructions, whatever. If you are ever unsure, log into your own Paypal account SEPARATELY.

I am talking about opening a new browser window, typing int: HTTP:// .. and logging in securely by connecting directly to the website without clicking on links.

Do not ever click on anything that looks suspicious

‘Nuff said. Just forward it on to: spoof [at], forward it on to your local government agencies dealing with online fraud and theft (Canada here, U.S. here), and make sure to block that number and caller from your phone forever. Do not reply, do not bait them, just forward the email, report the fraud, and delete.

How I almost got scammed when I was younger

I say all of this because when I was younger and just starting out on eBay with my business, I almost got scammed into passing on an expense. The guy paid me double the listing for what I was selling, and asked me to send on a portion of it and keep the rest for my trouble.

Being 12 years old, naive and trusting, I was about to do it that very afternoon that I received the request (I was a very prompt and courteous eBay seller), but forgot the address and the amount to send on a piece of paper at home.

I decided to do it the next day instead, and out of sheer, pure, sweet luck, Paypal flagged that transaction that very afternoon (literally 2 hours after I got the email of “paid funds” from Paypal), and said the money was not real, and they were putting the funds under review. I didn’t send any money that day, and with my heart pounding, was very, very pleased I had forgotten that piece of paper at home.

From that day onward, I have been super careful selling anything.

Have you ever been scammed?


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