VICTIMS SERVICES: Don’t be a Pal to online scammers
You’ve decided to put an item for sale on one of the popular websites, such as Craigslist or Kijiji.
Soon you receive an email from an interested buyer who wants to buy it — sight unseen.
They ask you for your PayPal account information so they can deposit the money into your account.
This is a scam!
The ruse works like this:
The scammer wants your item and is more than willing to pay the price you are asking; sometimes they even offer more.
The scammer tells you their shipping agent will come for the item, but will need to be paid in advance.
The scammer is willing to cover the shipping costs.
Next, the scammer asks for your PayPal information so he or she can deposit the funds into your account.
You are informed that PayPal will email you when the funds have been deposited and will hold those funds until you have shipped the items.
Once the items are received, the funds will be released to you.
The scammer will make a “deposit” to your PayPal account and ask that you pay the shipping agent from the deposit.
Most often, the scammer does not put anything in your account and emails you confirmation the money has been deposited and is being held for you.
This ‘confirmation’ looks very much like it came from PayPal and may even include a link that appears to be PayPal.
This link is fake and takes you to a site set up by the scammer solely to trick you into believing the transaction is legitimate.
The following variations may happen next.
You pay the shipping agent and wait for the confirmation.
The confirmation never comes because the deposit was never made.
You are out the shipping cost for your item.
Sometimes the scammer deposits too much money into your PayPal account and then asks you to ship the item and send the overpayment back.
You then find out that the deposit was never made and you are out the value of the overpayment and have given your item to the scammer.
The third variant has the scammer deposit the payment into your PayPal account with a stolen credit card or account.
You ship the item, then learn of the issue when PayPal advises you the payment was fraudulent.
Depending on the situation, you may very well be liable for refunding the money.
PayPal is a very safe and reliable option for people who wish to purchase items online safely and securely.
PayPal does not ‘hold’ funds until some sort of confirmation is made, so any reference to money being held until shipment is made is completely untrue.
Legitimate buyers will want to see the item or arrange for someone to see it prior to the purchase.
When selling items online, it’s best to deal with people in person and in cash.
The Kamloops RCMP offers a Scam Information Line where you can report potential scams and receive information about this and other scams.
Call the information line at 250-828-3266 or email email@example.com.
The preceding is part of a series of informational articles aimed at increasing public awareness about the services provided by the Kamloops Victim Services Unit.
The unit offers a variety of information and services, at no cost, to any victim or witness of crime or trauma.
All unit members have received specialized comprehensive training in victims’ issues, the criminal-justice system and crisis-intervention techniques.
The unit is located at the main Kamloops RCMP detachment at 560 Battle St. in the downtown core.
Victim Services operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and may be accessed by calling 250-828-3223.