Posted: February 16, 2017

How to SpotEvery now and then I post consumer alerts to help you out. Well, someone recently tried to “scam” me but luckily I knew what to look for and was able to avoid the scam. I wanted to post this information so you would know what to watch for because scammers are more cleaver than you think.  This happened to me a few years ago, but wanted to put it here for anyone who has not seen it.

Here is my true story:

I was selling an item on, a classified ads site similar to I always only accept cash and have my husband meet up with the people who are buying (as I don’t feel safe meeting anyone alone). One person wanted to pay via paypal since that was easiest for them. Paypal gives you full refunds if things go wrong, so I figured that was okay.

Well, I got an email from “paypal” saying money had been deducted from the buyer’s account, and as soon as I emailed them a receipt of  shipping confirmation I would receive payment.  Red flags are everywhere!

First, Paypal has buyer protection so if you pay for something and don’t get it you can dispute it.  I don’t believe they have a service of holding money such as this.

Also, the name said   Notice the extra dot at the end.  So I clicked on “show details”

And guess what I saw – it wasn’t from Paypal.  It said

Well I stuck the email in “trash”.  I didn’t click on any links.

If you get an email from any bank or paypal don’t click on ANY links in the email.

Because if it is a fraud email, this will happen: You’ll click on the link. Go to a site that looks exactly like Paypal.  Enter your email and password. Then BOOM.  You have just given a fake company that has setup a site to look just like paypal your email and password!

It is always safest to just type the url directly in the browser, and look for the https:// at the front.  The s means secure.

Ask CCD Readers: If you have any more tips on keeping yourself safe while selling items online, please leave a comment below!

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  • Sarah

    Also, Paypal and Ebay both have a system in place to report fake emails. You simply forward the fake email to them, without clicking on anything in the email. The address to report paypal fakes is and the address to report ebay fakes is

  • Alissa H.

    I just got an e-mail from “paypal” yesterday as well but I don’t even have a paypal account! It looked totally legit though, except for the fact I don’t have a paypal

    I just looked at it again and clicked on the link and I got a message that said this:
    “Reported Web Forgery!

    This web page at has been reported as a web forgery and has been blocked based on your security preferences.
    Web forgeries are designed to trick you into revealing personal or financial information by imitating sources you may trust.

    Entering any information on this web page may result in identity theft or other fraud.”

    Glad I didn’t give them any info yesterday!

  • nicole

    I got a somewhat similar email today. It was from AOL saying I needed to update my account. All I needed to do was clink on the link and enter acct # and password. I already knew this was a fake email because although I have an aol acct. the actual main name on the acct is my mothers. I don’t have any control over the main acct.

    That email went into the garbage can. I think we will be getting alot of these because of the email breach with a lot of big name companies. I got a an email from Benefit and Disney saying their customer’s email had been breached because of that scam.

  • Michael McClanahan

    If you use Thunderbird mail client by Mozilla, it will check where the links go to and alert you if it seems like this is a phishing attempt.

    If you aren’t sure, you can expand your email headers so you can trace the source of the email to its beginning.

    If you still aren’t sure and you own a Mac, you can go to the Terminal program and do a ‘whois’ search – type ‘whois domain name’ and hit return. The domain registrar will come back with the name of the owner of the domain, (unless it is parked with someone else), where they are and the names and domains of the servers. Google the names/servers and you can find out, exactly, who is trying to phish you.

    Windows used to have a type of terminal program that would do this, but I haven’t looked, lately. I, also, think you may be able to do this on the web.

    Worse comes to worse, cozy up – not physically, but you get my drift – your friendly neighborhood UNIX or MacOS X guy. Most corporate IT departments run some sort of UNIX OS and can do this for you.

    And, be sure and send the message to PayPal for them to analyze. There’s an address on PayPals homepage to do this.

  • sherie

    I had a similer thing hapen to me on ksl but the said they were out of the us so if i would wire them my pay pal account number they would deposit the money in my acount and then pick up the item when they got back in the states i didnt do anythng but deleat the email so there are alot of different scams you have to be care full love you sight thanks for all your work so we can save money

  • Dianne

    Glad ya didn’t fall for it Diedre. I swear…anymore I feel like a sitting duck in a target gallery shopping online.

  • Pam Garner

    I received an email from saying my ACH transaction did not go thru from my checking account.. Every transaction or bill I have paid online has cleared my account. I did not clik on any links in the email I have not ever received any email from this organization.. I suspect this to be a fraud email trying to spam people who pay bills or items online. Beware.. Pam

  • Veronica

    If you click on anything in a paypal email, the browser address bar will be green

  • Sarah

    I was just recently mailed Post Office money orders as payment for something online. The fact that this was their preferred method of payment was the first red flag. The second was that it was a pretty expensive item and I am a complete stranger so they were sending me money with no security for their end. The third flag was that the money orders had a different name and location than the buyer. I took the money orders to the Post Office and asked that they check them carefully. They were counterfeit, very realistic, but counterfeit. The PO employee didn’t even notice the difference until she ran the serial numbers. They had the watermarks and everything. The visual differences were that the green was a slightly lighter shade and the silver strips were barely off. These were only noticed when we compared a real with the fake side by side. Needless to say, I emailed Mr. Monopoly Money back to let him know the scam/sale was a no go. I even asked if there was possibly a “reasonable explanation”, just out of curiosity to see what he would come up with. I have yet to get a response nor am I expecting one at this point.

  • Amy Saves

    yeah, this happened to me too! luckily, i realized it was a scam and deleted the email!

  • nicole

    so i’m going to start using a clipping site in my area and it is very well known too but wanted to use paypal instead of creditcard # but after reading this I AM SCARED since i have NO CLUE what to look for and pretty new to all this I prob would have clicked the link thinkn it was legit u know PLZ GIVE ME SOME TIPS thanks

    • deidre

      Paypal is legit – and I love it. I just never click on links that are emailed to me from Paypal or any bank, I type in the url directly so I know it’s right

  • nicole

    sorry forgot to click the notify by e-mail box so plz reply to this one instead

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  • Sharon

    This was not what I was expecting your post to be about! Something similar happened to my husband awhile back, but it was for an item he was selling on eBay. I believe the buyer stated that he’d paid and sent my husband some fake receipt supposedly from PayPal. By checking his PayPal account, he could tell no money had been sent to him. I frequently get emails saying I need to do such and such or my PayPal account will be locked or already is locked. It’s super entertaining to me because I have multiple email addresses, and the one I usually get the notifications sent to, is not the one I use for PayPal! When that happens, I always forward the email to alert PayPal. Here are the directions to do so: Forward the entire email to Do not alter the subject line or forward the message as an attachment. Delete the suspicious email from your inbox.

    • I know scammers are so frustrating!

  • sandy weinstein

    i have been getting these for years. each time i log in i get one. i contacted paypal abt it several times, all they did was ask me to forward the email to their spoof email. i never log in from one of paypal emails.

  • mefink

    I never open emails from paypal unless I know I will be receiving one. Also always check address to make sure it says paypal with all correct spelling. But I have been getting alot lof scams lately. If it says payment pending or received just go straight to paypal from your address bar and check that way. I never knew you could send the fake ones to paypal for them to see the knew scams going on.

  • C Crooks

    Recently received similar emails from fake netflix and amazon as well. From now on if an account asks for info or for me to change passwords and such, I call the number I already have for the company. They usually ask me to forward the email to a scam dept. It’s getting ridiculous and I’m sure many people fall for it. It’s also wise to actually check your credit statements every month as I’ve had things charged to accounts from different states. I do, however, get text messages when any of my cards are used so I thankfully was able to stop it immediately.

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