Just a thought… I’m always disappointed when a liar’s pants don’t actually catch on fire. [Internet meme]
Part of the reason we were on the mainland last week was to help my sister Cindy in Summerland, BC as she prepares for a huge garage/yard/driveway sale this weekend. But it was ads for larger ticket items, like a piano, on sites like Kijiji and Used Kelowna that made me aware of a scam so sophisticated that it took an online search to figure out just what the crooks’ game is. Here’s how it works.
Cindy gets an email or text that looks like this – awful grammar and all:
Thanks for your mail back, I am ready to make a quick purchase, kindly consider it sold and cancel every other appointment regarding it, please get back to me with your final asking price, sorry I won’t be available to come do cash and carry, anyway distance is not an issue, I will be responsible for the pickup agent money and every other charges attached to it, kindly send me your PayPal email address and your full name so I can proceed on making the payment transfer to you… Thanks
By the time the fourth or fifth such response came in, Cindy was familiar with the scam. One of them claimed to want to buy the beautiful Yamaha Clavinova for a co-worker as a surprise. (Some co-worker, huh?) Another responded to Cindy when she said she wouldn’t do PayPal with a very aggressive push for her to use the system, along with a link to sign up. Ah, but that link, had she followed it, would have taken her to a fake site that would have then taken and used her financial information, had she given it. So, again, she didn’t go there.
The other two scams at work here – such as the one alluded to in the response above – are outlined on a site I found. Read how this rip-off works according to consumer.ftc.gov in the US.
Scenario Two: Check your email! The buyer claims he has sent payment to your PayPal account with additional funds so you can ship the merchandise ASAP, but oops, he sent too much money. He asks you to return the extra money via a money wiring service. It’s all a lie, including the extra money the buyer says he included.
What should you do? Log into your PayPal account. Make sure you’ve been paid before you ship. Never follow links in emails from people you don’t know. The safest approach is to open a browser window, navigate to PayPal.com, and log in yourself. Also, if the buyer claims to have sent extra money, and asks for some back, that’s a big red flag.
Scenario Three: The buyer sends you real money through a real PayPal account, and you ship him the car. Problem is, the PayPal account belongs to someone else! You might need to return the money even though the scammer has your wheels.
…or in Cindy’s case, the piano. The first red flag is the bad grammar and spelling, as is so often the case when someone is trying to fleece you, whether it’s to send money to a Nigerian prince or pretending to know you for some other nefarious reason.
This one was new to us (although the info above was posted in 2014). I thought I’d share it with you as something to be aware of if you (or anyone you know) are trying to sell something online. The old “too good to be true” line just screams out the truth, doesn’t it? Pass this one on today – the final day of Scams Awareness Month. (True!)