Nearly scammed!

Saturday, 10 April 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This week I decided to enter the 21st century and try to sell some things on Craigslist. I listed my dining room table and chairs and got a great response. So easy, and such an eco-friendly way to get rid of stuff - you line your pocketbook, not your garbage can. However, there are definitely drawbacks...

I’m not a total novice at internet buying and selling. I have purchased many things online and even tried to sell a thing or two on eBay before. And when I found Craigslist even easier to use than eBay, I started to plot.   

Making room for new

I have recently been coveting a black leather jacket but couldn’t justify buying it. It’s $599, which isn’t insane for a leather jacket, unless you take into account that I have two others similar. So I reasoned that if I could sell one of the “old” jackets, I could justify the new one! A few quick photos and a well-written sales pitch later, the “old” leather jacket was up on Craigslist, going for the bargoon price of $400. (It was originally $1000, though I did get it on sale, and wore it only a few times.)

It’s almost mine!

You can imagine my excitement when I woke the next morning to find an interested buyer.  The new leather jacket was within reach! Or so I thought…

Looking back, I have to admit my Spidey Senses were tingling.  The buyer didn’t ask me any additional questions about the jacket, they simply said they wanted it.  I found that a bit strange, but hey, it takes all kinds, right?  Maybe they’ve been dying for a Donald Pliner jacket like this for years and couldn’t believe their good fortune to have found one.

The buyer asked me to supply them with PayPal billing information as soon as possible.  I had an account with PayPal from my eBay shopping days and knew it to be a secure service. So far, so good.

But the buyer still didn’t tell me where they lived. If shipping was going to be involved, the price would go up.  I emailed the buyer who replied they lived in Toronto. And they me asked again to send them my PayPal information.

I did my research on Canada Post, found out how much it would cost to ship the jacket to Toronto express (about $30, as it is heavy) and then added this to the price of the jacket.  Now the price was $430.

PayPal’s got my back

 I went through PayPal, sent the buyer the invoice, and then in anticipation I went to the brick and mortar store to visit the soon-to-be-mine new jacket!

By the time I got home that afternoon, I’d gotten an email from PayPal saying a payment had been made. The buyer also emailed, saying they had received confirmation their money had gone through and they were expecting the jacket to be in the mail today. It was sounding like a leather jacket emergency out in the big smoke!

But it was Saturday afternoon, what’s the big rush? What if I can’t get to the post office today?

Something fishy…

Then I noticed something strange. The PayPal confirmation email said that a payment had been made for $530, a hundred dollars more than I’d asked. Okay, it is a nice jacket as you can see in the photo, but still, who’d pay more?

The email also stated that once I had shipped the product, I should click on the attached email address and provide a tracking number.  Then the money would go through into my account. Huh?

I opened my browser and logged onto my PayPal account. It said that a payment for $430 was pending from the invoice I’d sent to the buyer earlier. I tried to find somewhere to send this “tracking” number and found nothing. Something was definitely fishy.

Digging deeper

I called PayPal customer service and, as I suspected, they confirmed I was about to be scammed. I’d been sent a phishing email that was trying to scam me out of my leather jacket and potentially a bunch of personal and financial information through my PayPal profile.

If it was a real buyer, my PayPal account would confirm the money had beenreceived, and not show it still pending. Furthermore, the email looked like it was connected to PayPal — it had PayPal in the address, but it was a fake. Apparently the company had received numerous similar complaints recently.

If it seems too good to be true, sadly, it probably is.

Anyone want to buy a leather jacket?

Protect Yourself from Fraud

Though sites like Craigslist and eBay are fantastic marketplaces for buyers and sellers alike, always be cautious.

Keep informed on the latest scams by frequently reading the security tips from the following websites, as well as your bank’s website.



top of page | | back to posts |
  • Subscribe to the A&K Newsletter