Crooks set up fake PayPal pages to scam you

Warning to sellers on eBay or Craigslist


Scammers are finding new ways to target people trying to sell household goods online.

The latest: fake Pay Pal pages to prove they paid for something we were trying to sell online.

Ashley Lytle was hoping to make a little extra money. So the Deerfield Township, Ohio woman posted her Canon EOS digital camera on eBay, to avoid the scammers she had encountered on Craigslist in the past.

"I felt like eBay was the safest place to go," she explained. "I know the process of eBay, selling and buying."

But even eBay isn't immune from sophisticated scammers, in this case from a buyer who messaged her to say he had paid and now wanted the camera.

"He said he sent over the payment," she said. "But I said I didn't get an email from PayPal or anything."

So the buyer messaged her a screen shot showing his Pay Pal payment.

Lytle says she was just inches away from shipping the camera, because the pay pal transaction screen the buyer  sent her looked legitimate. 

 But something didn't feel right, since he was texting her a screen shot outside the eBay universe.

"It turns out he sent me a fake PayPal transaction screen," she said.

As she investigated further, it appeared he had photoshopped the payment page. Her account showed no recent activity.

How to protect yourself

So how can you protect yourself selling something online, whether it's a camera, a car, or baby items?

  • On eBay, never complete a transaction outside the safety of eBay's site. Don't even communicate with buyers offsite.
  • On Craigslist or selling apps, never agree to accept a check for more than your asking price. The check will almost always be fake.
  • Never agree to refund any overpayment (again, the check will be fake)
  • Beware buyers outside the USA.

Lytle is glad she backed  out. "If I would have sent him the camera, I wouldn't have gotten paid and the camera would have been gone forever.'

She still has the camera for sale, and will be much more careful who she deals with next time.

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