Last week, I posted an update regarding scammers stooping to new lows to try and dupe people out of money. This week, they go a step lower and are trying to capitalize on the devastating oil spill taking place off of the Louisiana coast.

This post comes from Deborah…

Just heard about the new contest and think it is a great idea-already have a scenario in mind.

However I thought I should provide a new update on Craig’s List scams. Generally they involve Paymate or sending a fake cheque or money order and having some unknown 3rd party come by to pick up the item. However this one almost sounded different since he wanted to pay through PayPal. I thought I would have a bit of fun with him as I checked his email through PayPal and that email was not a member. I have copied and pasted the emails back and forth with this Oceanographer as an example of them now trying to sound legitimate by using PayPal. I am not sure how they would intend to pull this off except to gain your PayPal ID–don’t know-any ideas?

Email 1:

In a message dated 5/2/2010 8:18:00 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

Hi there ,i interested in the immediate purchase of this item, pls i can only pay using pay pal, and after payments has been made i will arrange for pick up of the item. I will appreciate if you reply. (

Email 2: Deborah’s Response

—–Original Message—–
From: xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Sun, May 2, 2010 2:19 pm
Subject: Re: Women’s Set of Golf Clubs with Golf Bag $150.00


I do not see any problem with this however I do have a few questions–are you PayPal verified, if so what is your Paypal ID? Additionally I need you to supply a phone number so that I can confirm this transaction.

Email 3:

In a message dated 5/2/2010 10:31:17 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
I am happy you accepted my offer, i really appreciate it, i am an oceanographer and am currently at sea at the moment, i am buying the item as a gift for my dad, i want to make it a surprise for him,he wont know anything abt the item until they get delivered to him, i can only pay through paypal as i dont have access to my bank account online as i dont have internet banking,but i have my bank acc attached to my paypal account and this is why i insisted on paying you through paypal,So pls kindly get back to me with your paypal details so i can proceed with the payment and after the payment has been done, i have a pick up agent that will come around to pick the item up after i have made the payments for the item…….Greetings

Deborah’s return email in which she lays it on pretty thick–don’t you love it he won’t answer her request for his ID but wants hers??


That’s great that you are an oceanographer right now when you most certainly are needed as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf affecting Louisiana and Florida.

I understand that due to your situation you are not easily contacted however I merely ask for one piece of information from you before I provide my PayPal details as I checked your email address and it shows you are not a PayPal member.

Before we go any further you must provide me with your PayPal ID –if your bank account is attached to your PayPal account then you should show up as verified. Considering this day and age of scams through Craig’s list, fake money orders and cheques I must take every provision to ensure that this is not a scam. I am merely exercising due caution as I have encountered emails before similar to this-one for a fur coat I had listed around Christmas. In that case the buyer was in Paris and wanted to pay me through Paymate and would have someone pick up the fur–I responded to him in French informing him that my close friend in Paris would be more than happy to take his money and Paypal it to me. I never heard back from this buyer and only assumed that it was one of many scams and/or he did not speak French.

The other red flag in your email is why are you buying women’s golf clubs for your father.

Once you provide me your verified PayPal account I will provide you with my ID and we can conclude this process. Additionally I question why your appointed pick up agent can not be contacted.

I will be pleasantly surprised if you indeed write back and provide specific information that I can confirm–and if not I will post your email on the PayPal Boards.

Certainly you understand my position.


I laughed out loud when Deborah questioned his need to buy women’s golf clubs as a present for his dad. Thankfully, these scammers identify themselves as such fairly easily.

She, of course, hasn’t heard back from him yet.

Why do you think he was so persistent on obtaining her Paypal ID? Odds are, it was her current email address and he already had access to it. What could he have possibly done with just her ID? Does anyone know? I’m unsure myself.

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Join the Discussion

  • Bryan

    Perhaps it’s a ploy; the scammer may use the Paypal ID as bait to see who the guillible victims are. Since the scammer isn’t a verified Paypal member, the Paypal ID — a legitimate email address — is now a target for spam or even the possibility of being used for other malicious purposes which would probably result in the victim having to close that email account and open or use a different one as well as having to change their Paypal login information.

  • Ann

    If these scams weren’t hurting those who can least afford to be ripped off, they’d be really entertaining!

    Deborah’s responses are great – John’s emails are the kind that give most of us that “oh, yeah, right” feeling!

    Wondering if John’s request for a PayPal ID is really just a calculated effort to assure the seller that he’s serious, and build trust so that his rep can pick up the clubs before the payment is complete – just wants the clubs for nothing?

    Will look forward to hearing if anything more happens :)

  • Deborah

    Steve I am glad you asked that last question about what the ultimate goal was as you are right your email address is what you use to log into PayPal but you still need the password. Like you I am interested in this answer.


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