Fake PayPal Notification – how not to label this scam

By | January 22, 2017

Surfing the web for info on eBay fraud, I stopped to read an article posted by the Daily Mirror, the online site of a British tabloid newspaper.
It describes four scams perpetrated on eBay sellers, the first one headlined as “Send it to Nigeria“.

So we’ve got a catchy easy-to-remember title for this class of scam. I read on to learn the details. I scour the two paragraphs, which are succinct and clear, and wonder what I’m missing.

fail

 

“The buyer says they’ve paid more so you can send it to another country (several sellers said Nigeria). They also ask for your Paypal email.”

“Sellers said they were contacted by ‘Paypal’ asking for more personal financial details.”

 

So the scammer asks me to ship the item I’m selling to Nigeria. Got it, I’m taking notes here, Daily Mirror. This is proper investigative journalism. Wait, what? Where is the fraud? I’ get my money, I send the goods. Happy days in Liverpool and Lagos.
Way to go, Daily Mirror, for missing the bleedin’ obvious. The problem here is the bogus contact from PayPal. I mean, the journalist actually puts Paypal in inverted commas, so she does know what’s she’s talking about. Presumably the editor didn’t bother reading as far as the second paragraph, got stuck in those parentheses (several sellers said Nigeria),  and then chopped the rest of the scenario that would explain the scam. To avoid actually clarifying the situation, a link is given to a ten-year-old Ebay forum thread. Investigative journalism, it rocks.

Look, 100% of of scammers committing this fraud may be from Nigeria, but that doesn’t tell us anything. This scam is all about being sent emails purporting to be from Paypal.

Here are the details of the actual fraud.
1. Seller receives an email from the scammer stating intent to buy the item.
2. Seller receives an email that looks like it comes from PayPal, and looks like a notification that funds have been transferred from the scammer.
3. Seller posts item.
4. Seller realizes that no funds have been transferred to their PayPal account, and that the email was spoofed.

Spoofed? How does that work? How do we avoid this scam? More posts on this to come…

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