PayPal Scamming Method

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A few years ago classified scammers were easy to identify by their insistence on paying for items with money transfer or cheque. In these scamming attempts, the scam buyer would often send an excess amount of money and offer to have a private company deal with the shipping. It was at this time, that we recommended users request payment via PayPal, as at that point almost none of the scamming methods included PayPal as a payment method.

Things have however changed, and it is important for those engaging in online classifieds to understand the identifiers for scammers. In most cases these scammers still follow a formula that has become easy to recognize, as they always have. Except now they are more than willing to make payments via PayPal, in fact - they prefer it.

What Do The Scams Look Like?

This is an example of a typical PayPal scam.


Comments => Am interested in buying your 4 Student or Rental equipments . do you still have it for sale? And what is your asking price?.do you accept Paypal for payment?Let me know and get back to me .

Look out for odd grammar and spelling, especially when claiming to be from English speaking countries.

Upon responding to them, they will usually claim that they are away, out of town for work or something similar.

How Do The Scams Work?

The way these scams work varies sometimes, but they often include phishing.

Fake Confirmation E-mail - A popular method is for the scammer to request that you send your PayPal address for payment, after which they will send you a fake PayPal proof of payment link that will in many cases appear legitimate, but in fact is not. The e-mail will ask you to confirm the transaction and by attempting to do so, the link included in the e-mail will take you to a phishing page that while looking like a legit PayPal site, will result in the scammers being able to capture your login credentials, in turn being able to get into your account and take your money.

Tracking Number E-mail - Another method, which is similar... Is that they will send a fake e-mail where PayPal asks for the tracking number as proof that you sent the item, something that PayPal does not actually do. Again a fake and dangerous link will be included.

Hacked Accounts - There are times when these scammers will use hacked PayPal accounts to make legitimate payments to the seller. After they make the payment and you send the goods - they will then file for a case of theft from PayPal and get the money refunded back from your account and you'll be out gear and money.

Charge Back - Another method used is that they will supply you with an address that is different to the address listed as their PayPal address, and PayPal offers no protection when an item is sent to an address that is not listed as the buyer's PayPal physical address. So once they make the payment, they will wait for you to send the item and then do a charge back.

What Can One Do?

Unfortunately as a site operator, we're very limited on what we can do about these scams at this stage. It's certainly not only Dropzone.com that deals with them, and these same scammers are equally as active on sites like Craigslist.

They use proxies which means we're unable to implement bans on their IP addresses.

We do however disable their usernames when we receive notification of a scammer. We also list them as a scammer in the database, meaning if you go to their dropzone.com profile, if they have been reported and disabled, you will see an alert stating that they are a scammer, at the top of their profile page.

The best thing you can do, is to be cautious in your transactions and if you suspect that you have been contacted by a scammer, forward the email to abuse[at]dropzone[dot]com

After which point, you should simply ignore the e-mails from the scammers.

The scammer e-mails are almost always very generic and easy to identify, reading through a few of the posts in this thread and seeing what scammers have used to try and contact other sellers, should allow you to identify scammers quickly and easily.

Help Is On The Way

We realize that the presence of these scammers is a negative effect of free classified listings that allow any registered user to submit an ad and contact a seller.

We can assure you that we have no plans to make Dropzone.com classifieds a pay-to-use service, but we can say that we are currently working on the initial stages of putting together something that will make the classifieds far more secure and should reduce most if not all of these scammers from them.

So don't worry, help is on the way, in a way that will make you feel comfortable in your transactions while not having to damage your wallet to do so.

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Skydiver for 20 years. Now a trying to sell my rig. Since February when i post the first, i notice much of this scam emails. Unfortunely i live outside of USA and english is not my native language, so my posts maybe seems "suspicius" too.

"And the cherry on top" of that is, Paypal don't able to add my local bank's account to recive money. I have Paypal but i can use only to pay whit credit card (buy), not recive money (sell), i have to use the regular money transfer... thing that also seems suspicius. Is just frustrating.

I trying to write the most honest, clear post to sell my rig... whitout results.

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It happens to me exactly like you are posting, the person who reach me (assuming that is a possible scam) is under the name of Ronald Peckerman (this is for sure a fake name), but the steps for the trade was literally the same that you describe...

Lucky for me I didn't went trough

Blue skies


P.S. I'm selling a brand new Sabre 2 135, cash only jejejeje

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It seems that there has just been an attempt to scam myself also. The seller Brian Northrup (fllrenz) agreed to sell me a red Wings W25 (see attachment). After initially sending the money via Paypal, it was returned to me, with 'Brian' claiming the amount exceeded the limit of that particular account and subsequently the account would be suspended. 'Brian' then asked that I send 3 x payments to different Paypal address (I sent the first payment of $1,700), however he aroused my suspicions in a number of ways: he wouldn't divulge his USPA number, nor a DZ where he jumped at; he stated that one of the Payments of $1,700 was for his cousin for her wedding (not that it's my business, but who gives their cousin that amount for their wedding?) so i told him to either return the $1,700 or send the rig in good faith. Long story short, he sent me a tracking number via a fake Courier Service called 'Skyacedc' and then tried to elicit further funds when it was placed 'on hold due to non-payment of VAT and insurance.' Having researched the website and it's origins, turns out it is from Panama, though is technically 'U.S. Based.' I called 'Brian' out on the scam, and he didn't respond, simply stating he would contact me about a reimbursement before i raised a dispute through Paypal with the first recipient of $1,700. She also believes she has been scammed, though in her instance it seems he used a charity as his cause and a different name. I will report what Paypal do now I have escalated this issue to a claim, but be aware...Brian Northrup (fllrenz) is a scammer. Cheers Guys and Gals. Dave.

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I have always wanted to use Paypal because of all the buyer and seller protection. So I was quite surprised to read that scammers are able to scam using Paypal (or fake Paypal). I am communicating with a seller about an altimeter right now. I sent an email through DZ.com with an offer. He accepted it. I replied to his email and asked a few questions. Then he re-emailed me and gave a phone number and wondered if I was still interested. So it 'appeared' he didn't receive my emailed reply to his message. Also, I called the phone number and a woman said there was no Kyle (name on his add and his email). Do you think this may be a scam? The alti's price is under $100 and he accepted a lower offer than his ad. He doesn't appear to be on FB. His ad here on DZ.com doesn't have a last name. Let me know what you think.

Blue Skies!

Mary :-)

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It's hard to say, but it definitely sounds fishy. While PayPal still remains the best option, it does have people using it for scamming.

The situation regarding the phone number is specifically concerning.

I definitely wouldn't go through with any payment until you can get verification on the situation with the seller. And at this point I'd say you should treat it as though it is a scammer. At least until they can prove otherwise.

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