Online scam targets sellers with fake payment confirmation emails

(WIVB) – Criminals are always coming up with new ways to get your valuables. One recent scam involves online classified ads, and asks you to send your goods directly to the thief.

“A woman in Honolulu was selling a ring online for $600 and got an email from a potential buyer saying he was in the U.S. Marine Corps stationed overseas and wanted to buy the ring,” said FBI special agent Tom Simon.

Because he’s out of town, he wanted to use PayPal to pay for the ring.

“The seller then received an email that the money had been received via PayPal. What she didn’t know was that the email was a fraud. It was made to look like it was from PayPal but it was really from the bad guy,” Simon said.

Lucky for her, she went to to check her account rather than trust the confirmation form sent to her.

“When she checked her PayPal account, she discovered there was no money in it and didn’t send the ring to Nigeria like she was supposed to,” he said. “A close examination of the email shows a lot of poor English which is not atypical when dealing with Nigerian frauds.”

The moral of this story is that when someone tells you you have money in the bank, go there yourself and check it. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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