Crooks use fake PayPal scam to con victims

Posted at 6:43 PM, Sep 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-26 18:43:17-04

A fake PayPal scam is costing consumers a lot of cash and some big headaches.

The new scheme is usually linked to online auction users and it can be very deceiving.

Adam Perkins is learning an adult lesson at a young age.

The 15-year-old decided to sell his laptop on eBay after he got a new iPad. He listed the computer for $500.00 and got a buyer right away.

“I got an email from PayPal saying we have your funds,” says Adam.

The buyer asked Adam and his mother to send the laptop immediately.

“So we broke our backs trying to send it,” says Susan McConnell.

Fortunately, they missed the Friday deadline for overnight shipping, which helped them unravel a massive scam.

When they took a second look at the notice allegedly sent from PayPal, it was full of grammatical and spelling errors.

“Not something like legitimate language for PayPal,” says McConnell.

Now they knew there was a problem.

“I spent 48 hours sleuthing,” says McConnell.

They immediately called postal inspectors who issued a mail recall and kept the package from being delivered.

“'That`s somebody stealing money from your kid,” says McConnell.

In this scheme, the suspect buys an item first.

“She would use a `Buy It Now` option. She would find out the seller’s email address and send a phony mail pretending to be from PayPal,” says Laura Carter, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

The note would say the funds had been sent to the seller’s account.

In reality, no payment was made. The suspect ends up with the merchandise without paying a cent.

Inspectors recommend always logging in and checking your PayPal account.

Adam and his mom also learned a valuable lesson.

“I`ve learned you have to check someone`s user rating, their history on eBay,” says Adam.

'Your trust is being violated and someone has stolen something from you, and it`s a stomach churning feeling,” says McConnell.

Here are some red flags that postal inspectors say you should be on the lookout for:

An immediate purchase of the `Buy It Now` price with no questions asked, also a request for overnight shipping. Always be wary of PayPal notices sent to your email.

The suspect involved in this case was caught and returned much of the merchandise to the victims involved.