How A Nigerian Steals Your Laptop

Molly’s laptop was stolen, and the thief didn’t even break into her house, or snag it from her at a coffeeshop, or hold a knife to her neck in a darkened alley. No, her laptop was stolen via email. In fact, she mailed it to thief, in Africa. OMG, you’re probably saying to yourself right now with your hands up by your face, how could this be? Discover the horrifying true story, inside…

Molly writes:

1. I posted my laptop for sale on Craigslist for $550.

2. emailed me and said he’d send an extra $150 through Paypal for shipping to his cousin, a student in Nigeria.

3. Paypal sent me an email saying they needed the tracking # before they could post the $700 to my account, to protect the buyer and be fair to both parties. (I’ve since found out this email was a SCAM!)

4. I emailed the tracking # to the Paypal address they had provided and waited day in and day out. I’d paid $76.05 to ship the laptop.

5. Finally, I got frustrated enough today to call Paypal and demand the money. They said the buyer account did not exist and there was no $700. The only thing they had a record of was my request for $700 from the buyer.

6. So! Paypal couldn’t do shit. They told me to call USPS and recall the laptop.

7. USPS said the laptop left the US on September 22nd and cannot be recalled once it leaves. The insurance I’d put on the item was for lost or damaged goods. It does not protect against fraud.

8. So! USPS couldn’t do jack.

9. I reported this to the FTC, but what’s that gonna do? NOTHING!

10. I’m so livid that I am currently in an emotionless state.

That’s right, Molly, you’re fucked. Here’s a few things to remember so you don’t end up like Molly:

  • Don’t mail anything to Africa and expect to get money back. Any email based around some kind of transaction wanting to have you do something involving Africa is probably a scam.
  • Someone offering to buy something from you, then give you extra money over the sale price so you will ship it to a third party, is probably scamming you.
  • If Paypal were really stepping in to mediate between you and the other party, a record of it would appear in your resolution center on