Online scam uses fake Paypal email to target eBay sellers

The BBB says anyone selling products on eBay can be targeted by spoof emails. And those who take the bait are losing money
October 7, 2013 8:34:11 PM PDT
There's a new warning out for eBay and PayPal users. The Better Business Bureau says scammers are using technology to cheat you out of money, and if you're not careful, it could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

You often hear the term buyer beware, but this time around it's seller beware. The BBB says anyone selling products on eBay can bee targeted by spoof emails. And those who take the bait are losing money.

Kesha Scott runs her online business, Glam Authority from her home office, and uses eBay to sell her products.

She says for secure transactions, "obviously you want to go through PayPal."

But a recent warning from the BBB now has sellers on the lookout.

"If you're selling something on eBay, you may receive an email from someone claiming that they need the item as soon as possible," said Leah Napoliello with the Houston BBB.

Napoliello says a buyer will reach out to the seller expressing their urgency in receiving the product, and will even offer to pay for express shipping.

"Then you receive supposedly an email from PayPal saying that a transaction has gone through. It turns out that's not a real email from PayPal at all," Napoliello said.

What the seller receives is actually a spoof email stating that the buyer paid for the auction. In turn, the seller ships out the product, not realizing the transaction was bogus.

"Be sure to actually go to the PayPal website itself. Don't click any links in the email. Go to PayPal, login, make sure that the transaction is actually legitimate," Napoliello said.

Scott tells us she has not seen this particular scam yet, but knows of similar ones. She advices to use PayPal to its fullest.

"If they say they need it swiftly, then that's something you may even want to say, 'Give me your phone number, let me call you.' Then let's get PayPal involved and let's make sure the money is in your account, it's maybe just on hold or that kind of thing," Scott said. "But you just want to make sure you're doing everything on your part to ensure the sale is legitimate."

Experts also say you should only accept payments from verified PayPal users. Also, check the buyer's eBay feedback rating. If they send you an email stating they need the product ASAP but have zero to little feedback, that could be a red flag as well.

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