Online scam tricks sellers with payment confirmation emails

(KRON/KHON) — The latest internet scam tricks sellers into thinking a buyer has bought their items online.

The criminals target people selling items online through classified ads. The scam sends a payment conformation email, making the seller believe that they have received a payment. The seller is then tricked into sending their 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,” FBI special agent Tom Simon told KHON reporter Diane Ako.

The scammer told the woman that because he’s out of town, he wants to use PayPal.

“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 PayPal.com 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.”

To be safe online, make sure to always double check your accounts when dealing with money.

Simon says the FBI has investigated six of these scams so far this year.

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