Online scam targets sellers with payment confirmation emails

HONOLULU (KHON) – Criminals are always coming up with new ways to get your valuables.

The latest scam involves online classified ads, and asks you to send your goods directly to the thief.

It all started with a ring.

“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,” said FBI special agent Tom Simon.

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 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.”

The moral of this story: When someone tells you you have money in the bank, go there yourself and check it.

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

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