I Literally Placed My PS3 In A Scammer's Hands

Herman’s tale of eBay/Paypal buyer fraud is unusual because he not only met the scammer in person, he placed his item right in the guy’s hands. Here’s what happened:

Herman writes:

1. Posted my ad to sell a PS3 on Ebay
2. Got email from a man who is local, wants to buy my PS3 for the Buy it Now price
3. He said he wants to pay first, come pick it up the next morning
3. First time using Paypal, so I thought I’d be cautious and told him that first, the money has to be an Instant Payment
4. He agrees, transfers the money
5. Picks it up tomorrow morning, he seemed like an ok guy, started getting suspicious when he said he did not want to come inside
6. Gave him the PS3, he walked away, and drove off.
7. About a week after, Ebay sends me a message about this guy, saying the username is stolen
8. Suspicious, I tried to take the money out, Paypal told me the funds were invalid. All emails to the scammer go unanswered, of course.
9. Called Paypal, they set up a case that took 2 weeks and required me to send them identification verification,
10. They closed the case, saying they could not reimburse me the funds
11. I called Paypal to complain, and they told me the address existed, but it was not his address. I asked them, “You said your website needs address verification before anyone can send out instant payments, correct? What is the point of the address verification if you don’t check it BEFORE allowing him to send instant payments?” Their reply? It was an issue they were “working on.”

Basically no one could do anything for me, and I was out $650 (PS3 + 5 games). In retrospect, I should’ve double checked his information on Paypal before I gave him the goods. But you know what, when Paypal sells itself on how secure it is, and offers an option of payment that is secure because of address verification, you expect to do its job.

Some tips I got from Paypal were: If your ad was on Ebay, make sure to do the whole transaction using the Ebay website, so that at least they have it on record. Also, that its safer to ship it out then to meet the person upfront, because Ebay has no way to tell who did what.

Anyway, lesson learned, cut my losses, moved on. Hope this story helps!

(Photo: jpghouse)