Sheriff’s Office warns of on-line payment scam
A call to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line revealed a new twist to an old scam aimed at swindling online marketplace sellers by generating fake payment confirmations while posing as PayPal.
For online sellers of merchandise who use PayPal to transfer funds from the buyer to the seller; this scam is one that needs to be paid attention, too, officials said.
Recently, a resident advertised a vehicle for sale on two popular websites, and shortly thereafter received an e-mail from a potential buyer who wanted to buy the automobile but could only make a payment through PayPal.
The buyer/scammer instructed the seller to open an account with PayPal and then forward the registered e-mail address to them. The seller preferred to have the cash transferred directly into their bank account and asked to speak to the buyer/scammer over the phone, but was told that the buyer/scammer was out of the state and unable to use a phone.
The seller of the vehicle opened a PayPal account and forwarded the account information and final price of $24,000 to the buyer/scammer. Later, the seller received a receipt and confirmation from what looked to be an authentic PayPal notification stating that $25,000 had been deposited into his account. The seller also received an e-mail from “The PayPal Team” that to have the funds released and credited to his account, a transfer of $900 would have to be made via Western Union to cover “agent costs.” It was at this time that the seller realized he was about to be scammed, officials said.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office reminds the public that this scam could cost unsuspecting sellers of online merchandise thousands of dollars and urges vigilance when using the World Wide Web.
For assistance call the Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line: 239-477-1242
Source: Lee County Sheriff’s Office