Pity the Fool…

A couple of months ago a friend of mine was selling his iPhone on Ebay. He had a bidder and within minutes his item was sold. All was going to plan until he rang me to find out about PayPal’s new policy on funds being held until the shipping confirmation had been received. *DING DING* went the alarm bells! I’ve bought and sold on Ebay for a few years now and have always used PayPal’s online banking service so I know a thing or two and this one struck me as odd. I asked him to forward me the emails he received and we soon got to the bottom of the sham.

In September of 2008 I sold my Sony PlayStation 2 to a nice chap from Limerick via Ebay. Everything went according to plan, he received his Console and I received payment. Prior to this I had listed the lot on Facebook’s Marketplace and it garnered interest from a chap living somewhere in the US. He wanted to buy the Console for his son as a birthday present (sob-story to draw some sympathy) – his son was living in a different country. It wasn’t until he asked me to ship it to Nigeria did I begin to question this buyer. The bells started to ring when he asked for my bank account details even though he was paying with a Credit Card. I conducted some Google research and found out that I was in the process of being scammed. The eventuality would have been that I would have shipped the PS2 to the Nigerian address and somehow end up owing HIM money – obviously I ceased all communication and ran into the welcoming arms of Ebay.

So when I looked at the forwarded email and seen a Nigerian address I suspected foul play – and foul play much more advanced than my Marketplace friend.

As you can see above, the trickster used “service@paypal…” as his real NAME – where you or I use our regular name, he used an email address. You can see his REAL address inside the brackets! But even so, PayPal are www.paypal.com – any country defined sites have a forward slash and then the country, e.g www.paypal.co.uk/uk – ALL correspondence comes from paypal.com.

Next came some info that looked fairly legit:

The Ebay and PayPal links at the top are probably the real deal and the info to the right was copied from a different email and is also legit but the information is all wrong. Never will PayPal ever hold funds…ever! What this schemer is trying to do is to convince you that PayPal wants the shipping number before they transfer any money – the reason is that there is a bit of money at stake and precautions must be taken … all lies! But the con-man is ready to relieve your suspicions by offering a tracking email (which PayPal don’t actually offer…they’re just a money centre, not a shipping company), unfortunately this email is also fake as its domain is “emailaccount.com” and not paypal.com! Mr. Hustler also gives you a get-out option by stating that if you do not accept or deny, the funds will be returned to Mr. Joy Morgan…thank goodness for that!

Above you can see the address that confirmed to me that it was a scammer. Now I apologise to any Nigerians that may take offence, but for some reason Nigeria has been claimed by swindlers the world over as their capital – I am not condemning Nigerian people in any way. It was similar to the address that was given to me by my Marketplace cowboy and I immediately told me friend to stop what he was doing and send everything to PayPal and Ebay, which he did. Below the address, you are once again informed about the shipping number (the main scam) and you are even told that if you do not have a PayPal account the money will be sent to your home address! Any fears you had are now alleviated!

In the second email, he was told what to do next (whatever happened to simply selling something?!):

Now ignore the many, many grammatical errors in this piece! He gives the same tracking email rubbish and then turns the tables by telling you that you have to respond within the next 48 hours! What happened to the 30 days?!? He then spells PayPal in all lower-case (big no-no) and even puts a registered mark after the company’s name, which they never do! This email ended with some lovely cut-and-paste action:

As you can see, there are no registered trademarks and no lower-case company names. Throughout his email he also tried to reproduce PayPal’s deep blue font colour but of course he failed. After this a THIRD email arrived!

This is the Proof of Shipping scam: You can only give them a shipping number if you ship an item via mail. They will know that you have sent the item when they track the shipping number. They will then have an iPhone (or whatever you’re selling) and you will not receive ANY money! Please be very careful when dealing with people on the internet – whether it be through an email where you are guaranteed $30 million if you send your passport or even on something as secure as Ebay or PayPal…don’t be fooled or else you may have this man pitying you…


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