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Rip-Off Alert: Poor grammar exposes scammer's plot

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 8/09/2013 5:48 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- A fake PayPal scam is costing consumers a lot of cash and some big headaches. As seen in this Rip-Off Alert, the new scheme is usually linked to online auction users and can be very deceiving.

Adam Perkins learned an adult lesson at a young age.

“The email was ‘We have your funds,’ and I said ‘yes,’ and then everything happened,” he said.

The 15-year old decided to sell his laptop on eBay after he got a new iPad. He listed the computer for $500 and got a buyer right away.

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

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

“He said, ‘It’s my son’s birthday, and we’d love for you to overnight it,’ ” McConnell said. ”So we broke our backs trying to send it.”

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. Now they knew there was a problem.

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,” McConnell said. “And you know don’t get between a mother and her children.”

This is how the scam works. First, the suspect buys an item.

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

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.

“See if there is anything from PayPal because they do send you an email to your account; not just your email,” Carter said.

Adam and his mom also learned a valuable lesson.

“I’ve learned you have to check someone’s user rating, their history on eBay,” he said.

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 weary 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.


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