A few minutes ago, I updated a “for sale” post on Craigslist, only to find the post blocked because I gave information on how to use PayPal. It seemed clear that the reason was because Craigslist scammers have used PayPal to cheat people, but how? Isn’t PayPal one of the most secure methods of on-line payment available?
Okay, so let’s type in “Why doesn’t Craigslist allow PayPal”. Voila, a plethora of articles to choose from. I clicked on the very first one:
An excellent description of how filthy rotten low-down cheaters can screw unsuspecting people. (Of course, I’m not talking about people who make legitimate mistakes, or who get in over their heads for whatever reason. I’m referring to people who deliberately set out to scam the unwary.)
This blogger does a great job of describing the many ways things can go wrong. For more info on how craigslist works (and doesn’t), also check out his website http://beatcraigslist.com.
Here’s the blog:
Pay Pal Scams on Craigslist
I have recently come across many people asking questions on other blogs and postings about using Pay Pal (the real one) for completing transactions through Craigslist. We all know there are several Pay Pal scams on Craigslist that are always taking place and for a full description of those scams you can always read them on my website www.beatcraigslist.combut what about using the Real Pay Pal? Does that work and is it safe? Let me address some of the issues here.
Here is a sample questions that I have come across (there have been many others along the same line but this sums it up nicely):
I recently posted an item for sale on Craigslist and the buyer wants to use Pay Pal. I spoke with the guy (gal) on the phone and it all seems legit. They want to use the real Pay Pal to pay for the merchandise, so it must be OK right? Pay Pal will protect me from fraud right?
Think again. Pay Pal (the real one) will only protect you (maybe) if your transaction goes bad on Ebay, NOT any place else.
So how can they possibly defraud you and Pay Pal once the money is in your account?
Here are a few quick ways, and there are probably many more! (feel free to leave me comments if you have seen or heard of any other ways you can be defrauded on Pay Pal)
1- They (the scammer) will send you a phony (but legitimate looking) email from Pay Pal indicating that the money has been sent but won’t be credited to your account until you email back the tracking number. This is complete BS because Pay Pal will NEVER asks for a tracking number before crediting you the money. If you log in to your real Pay Pal account (not some link in an email) and there is no money present and no copy of that email, then it’s obvious that there is no transaction, but how many people will go through this extra trouble?
2 – They send you an email from Pay Pal (again phony) saying that the money has been sent but you must click on the enclosed link to confirm the transaction. The link then takes you to a very real looking Pay Pal site where you enter your log in details and BAM, you just fell for an old fashioned phishing scam where the Craigslist scammer hacks your account and takes your money!
3 – The scammer pays you with a hacked Pay Pal account, (like from #2 above) the money goes in to your account, then once you send the item the real account holder reports the theft and Pay Pal
debits the money from your account. Now you have NO money and NO merchandise.
4 – The Craigslist scammer pays you with a real Pay Pal account and ask you to ship the merchandise to a different address. Once you do so and they have the merchandise in hand, they turn around and file a charge-back saying that they never received the item. It doesn’t matter if you have a copy of the delivery confirmation or an email from them asking you to send the merchandise to a different address. You have NO protection from Pay Pal if you ship anywhere other than the verified Pay Pal address –(scammers know this and are hoping you wont).
5 – The oldest scam in the book is where the scammer sends you MOREmoney than you asked for. They will then apologize and say that they made a mistake but if you could please just wire the balance to their “shipping agent” through Western Union they will arrange a pickup. You do this, then the scammer files a charge-back with Pay Pal saying their account has been hacked, and that they never intended to send you any money. Pay Pal then turns around and debits the money from your account. This one really puts the SUCKER stamp one your forehead because now what happened is that you just sent the merchandise PLUSyour own money to the scammer using another fake name through Western Union. How will you EVER live that down? Oh, wait…fortunately you read this article and you wont get stung! You are now SMART instead of STUNG!
These are just a few methods that any Craigslist scammer can use to defraud you and the Real Pay Pal. If you keep these things in mind and still wish to go forward with a Pay Pal payment on Craigslist I hope that it all works out for you. Considering these people are always looking for new ways to scam you from your money I would be very hesitant to proceed with these types of transactions. One thing I have learned is that the BEST way to cut off a scammer on Craigslist is to keep ALL your transactions 1- Local, and 2- CASH ONLY!
Craigslist is also full of local scammers, don’t get me wrong. Not all criminals live in Nigeria. That would be just foolish to allow yourself to think that locality has anything to do with the criminal element. There have been numerous reports of people being robbed or assaulted by local criminals from Craigslist. One very important rule above all others is toAlways meet in well lit, very public places. Never allow yourself to be pulled away from crowds since the old adage is correct that “There is safety in numbers”! I hope this helps you out and keeps you protected. I will add more scams here in the future but at my websitewww.beatcraigslist.com I have an on going list of scams that just keeps growing. Check that out for the latest, and don’t get discouraged by the HUGE list. You don’t have to read it all in one sitting. Stay smart and stay safe!