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Thread started 13 Apr 2012 (Friday) 09:31
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PayPal Scam Defence Strategy

 
Pearlallica
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Apr 13, 2012 09:31 |  #1

I recently covered my tracks using paypal and I thought I would share it in the event that it may help anybody with a similar hesitance to sell items using paypal.

I sold a camera to a buyer here in the POTN classifieds. I'm fairly trustworthy of buyers with good feedback, which the person had. My brother told me about an increasing Paypal scam about false claims of their shipments. It is happening to victims that frequent classified sites like Kijiji and Craigslist.

Though I trusted the buyer, I could not afford ANY potential risk of being burned. I've heard some bad stuff out there that started out what looked like fairly innocent transactions...

Here was my defence strategy:

I took my iphone4s, propped it onto a table and started recording a video.

The video began by me showing my sold DSLR, turning on the LCD to display that it worked. Snapped a picture and made the image on the LCD visible to my recording. Powered it off and described that the memory card, battery and lens were not in the sale and packaged the body-only in the box. The DSLR never left the frame of my recording nor did I stop/pause the recording. I boxed it up, and carried the parcel down the street to the post office (1 minute walk) (I had already had a pre-printed shipping label on the box) so that I could drop it off to the post office worker and walk away. The box never left the sight of the recording and I made sure that the post office sign was also visible as I approached it. (nobody can claim I pulled a "switch-a-roo" with the camera or box)

If there is any chance that I am called out for shipping an empty box or broken camera, I have the video and its indisputable.

I can upload the video and threaten them to cancel their claim of fraudulence or I can show paypal a link to my video in my defence statement. They will investigate and I will win.

Sure it was a bit of work to make the video - a whole 8 minutes - but I have total peace of mind about the sale and I won't hesitate to do this again when big ticket items involve paypal.

Hope this idea might be of use to someone out there. Although I'll understand that not everybody can go from recording from their dinning room table to the post office in such a short stride.


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rick_reno
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Apr 13, 2012 09:39 |  #2

I don't know...maybe you should have duct taped your IPhone to the box and had it recording the journey the box took, inside the box have a small prepaid shipping box and request the scammer who got the box to return your IPhone.




  
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Pearlallica
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Apr 13, 2012 09:46 |  #3

thanks for your genius contribution to a perfectly viable and straight forward solution...


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isoMorphic
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Apr 13, 2012 10:02 |  #4

Honestly you make it sounds as if one cannot edit video and tamper with the evidence.

Sounds like a plan that could work (in theory) but i doubt Paypal is going to take the time to review potentially fake videos for every sour transaction dispute. Just because you went through all that trouble would probably raise a premeditated flag and put your account under tight watch. Remember they have a legal obligation to the purchaser because it was them who gave Paypal the money. This is why Escrow services exist to protect both parties and if you want real protection then you always have that option. I used Escrow.com to broker a $4k domain on my behalf and it was well worth paying the fees myself because the buyer (who only lived two hours away) actually did attempt to screw me.




  
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moose10101
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Apr 13, 2012 10:07 |  #5

1) PayPal isn't going to watch your video.

2) Snapping a photo and showing it on the LCD screen doesn't prove that the camera is fully functional.

3) It would be very simple to have two labels stacked on the box, with the top one having the address of your buyer, and one underneath with a friend's address. On the way to the P.O., you slip the top label off.

The defense against a claim of an empty box is the shipping weight, as well as an insurance claim that will put the buyer in the crosshairs of postal investigators. The defense against a "broken camera" swap is more difficult, maybe impossible.

But your video is useless unless you want to hire a lawyer.




  
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Pearlallica
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Apr 13, 2012 10:17 |  #6

moose10101 wrote in post #14259157 (external link)
1) PayPal isn't going to watch your video.

2) Snapping a photo and showing it on the LCD screen doesn't prove that the camera is fully functional.

3) It would be very simple to have two labels stacked on the box, with the top one having the address of your buyer, and one underneath with a friend's address. On the way to the P.O., you slip the top label off.

The defense against a claim of an empty box is the shipping weight, as well as an insurance claim that will put the buyer in the crosshairs of postal investigators. The defense against a "broken camera" swap is more difficult, maybe impossible.

But your video is useless unless you want to hire a lawyer.

valid points.

could be used as a last resort if getting the buyer to back off is needed.

I've made a lot of empty threats against people that have scammed me on eBay and inevitably received justice. The power of the pen, the power video. Sometimes desperate measures are needed if getting your scammer to budge, just is a little, is needed. Nobody said these criminals were intelligent.


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minhi
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Apr 13, 2012 10:46 |  #7

i don't know this seems over the top, i think the best defense is to sell to a buyer you are comfortable with, i.e. not shipping to a po box, buyer has good a reputation etc. i mean as a buyer you would do your homework on a seller, so as a seller you should do some homework on your potential buyer.

if you had enough doubt that you needed to do this i would find another buyer or restrict the transaction to a local sale. yes there are scammers out there but the majority of the folks out there are honest, and scammers will not spend 2 years on an online forum creating a false identity so a little bit of research on your buyer will greatly reduce the risk.


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Pearlallica
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Apr 13, 2012 10:59 |  #8

minhi wrote in post #14259355 (external link)
i don't know this seems over the top, i think the best defense is to sell to a buyer you are comfortable with, i.e. not shipping to a po box, buyer has good a reputation etc. i mean as a buyer you would do your homework on a seller, so as a seller you should do some homework on your potential buyer.

then I suppose you haven't the heard the stories that say other-wise?

minhi wrote in post #14259355 (external link)
if you had enough doubt that you needed to do this i would find another buyer or restrict the transaction to a local sale. yes there are scammers out there but the majority of the folks out there are honest, and scammers will not spend 2 years on an online forum creating a false identity so a little bit of research on your buyer will greatly reduce the risk.

You can't control who bids on your auctions.


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musashi
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Apr 13, 2012 11:06 |  #9

Making a vido from my house to the post office or fedex kinko will will take some as the drive alone is 20-30 mins depending on traffic.


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Pearlallica
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Apr 13, 2012 11:21 |  #10

musashi wrote in post #14259453 (external link)
Making a vido from my house to the post office or fedex kinko will will take some as the drive alone is 20-30 mins depending on traffic.

lol or you can make the vid in your car and make sure to bring along your packing tape.

most people ridicule the idea. I get it.

When you find yourself in a position where your seemingly legit buyer has opened a dispute claim against you and there's nothing from stopping Paypal from withdrawing $3K from you bank account, laughing isn't an option.

Another person here on POTN suggested having a temp bank account and transferring funds to your main account. Not really sure if this is a safe option as far as creditors go. I don't think it helps keep a clean image of yourself either.


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MeNiS
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Apr 13, 2012 11:28 |  #11

ship with tracking # and direct signature required. that's enough for me.




  
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dynamitetony
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Apr 13, 2012 11:28 |  #12

rick_reno wrote in post #14258991 (external link)
I don't know...maybe you should have duct taped your IPhone to the box and had it recording the journey the box took, inside the box have a small prepaid shipping box and request the scammer who got the box to return your IPhone.


thanks for a good laugh :)


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jwm9289
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Apr 13, 2012 11:32 |  #13

Pearlallica wrote in post #14258947 (external link)
I recently covered my tracks using paypal and I thought I would share it in the event that it may help anybody with a similar hesitance to sell items using paypal.

I sold a camera to a buyer here in the POTN classifieds. I'm fairly trustworthy of buyers with good feedback, which the person had. My brother told me about an increasing Paypal scam about false claims of their shipments. It is happening to victims that frequent classified sites like Kijiji and Craigslist.

Though I trusted the buyer, I could not afford ANY potential risk of being burned. I've heard some bad stuff out there that started out what looked like fairly innocent transactions...

Here was my defence strategy:

I took my iphone4s, propped it onto a table and started recording a video.

The video began by me showing my sold DSLR, turning on the LCD to display that it worked. Snapped a picture and made the image on the LCD visible to my recording. Powered it off and described that the memory card, battery and lens were not in the sale and packaged the body-only in the box. The DSLR never left the frame of my recording nor did I stop/pause the recording. I boxed it up, and carried the parcel down the street to the post office (1 minute walk) (I had already had a pre-printed shipping label on the box) so that I could drop it off to the post office worker and walk away. The box never left the sight of the recording and I made sure that the post office sign was also visible as I approached it. (nobody can claim I pulled a "switch-a-roo" with the camera or box)

If there is any chance that I am called out for shipping an empty box or broken camera, I have the video and its indisputable.

I can upload the video and threaten them to cancel their claim of fraudulence or I can show paypal a link to my video in my defence statement. They will investigate and I will win.

Sure it was a bit of work to make the video - a whole 8 minutes - but I have total peace of mind about the sale and I won't hesitate to do this again when big ticket items involve paypal.

Hope this idea might be of use to someone out there. Although I'll understand that not everybody can go from recording from their dinning room table to the post office in such a short stride.

I have been buying and selling on forums, craigslist and ebay for over 15 years. Over 1000 transactions. From $5.00 to a $15,000.00 Car (Purchased) and $5.00 to 10,000.00 Motorcycle (Sold). I have never beend burnt.

I think some people have to much time on there hands.

Besides i live to far away from the Posr Ofice, it would be a long video.


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alpha_1976
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Apr 13, 2012 11:32 |  #14

minhi wrote in post #14259355 (external link)
i don't know this seems over the top, i think the best defense is to sell to a buyer you are comfortable with, i.e. not shipping to a po box, buyer has good a reputation etc. i mean as a buyer you would do your homework on a seller, so as a seller you should do some homework on your potential buyer.

if you had enough doubt that you needed to do this i would find another buyer or restrict the transaction to a local sale. yes there are scammers out there but the majority of the folks out there are honest, and scammers will not spend 2 years on an online forum creating a false identity so a little bit of research on your buyer will greatly reduce the risk.

I totally agree with this. Paypal won't take any evidence from you and easily side the party who is going to win (for example if credit card is involved buyer wins no matter what happens); justice doesn't matter much as far as Paypal is concerned. I have seen this happening and that's why I stay away from them.


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luigis
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Apr 13, 2012 11:33 |  #15

We have to test this! Let us know when your next sale is available!!


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