Trying to figure out how to get rid of that recliner from the 90s?  Post it on Craigslist.  It’s almost a guarantee that you will find someone out there who has a need for your junk.  From an old motorcycle to an old set of golf clubs, Craigslist is the source to use when you’re cleaning out your house or looking to make some cash.

Craigslist has accumulated over 200 complaints on Scambook with $1,646,402 in total reported damages, but I’m not sure they’re the ones to blame.

I posted my ad on Craigslist on November 13, 2011, and I listed the iPad for $350 along with my personal cell phone number, instructing potential buyers to text me if they were interested.  The potential buyer was named Alpacino Sergio, who insisted on paying $500  and said he was purchasing it as a gift for his son in Nigeria.

OK let’s stop right there.  Some major red flags are:

1) His first name was Alpacino, as in Scarface Al Pacino.  Are you kidding me?

2) Alpacino offered to pay more than what I listed the item for.  Looking back, how did I NOT catch that?

3) Did I mention his first name was Alpacino?

4) Lastly, one word – Nigeria.  If you’ve followed the news, lottery scams are a consistent problem among consumers, and those accused are of Nigerian descent, and hundreds of complaints have been filed on regarding scams stemming from Nigeria.

Check out the email that supposedly came from PayPal.  I’ve used PayPal before to make purchases on eBay, so this particular confirmation email I got for payment received definitely rubbed me the wrong way.  Here are some warning signals to look out for:

1) The Address Field: From: [email protected] is an email account you can sign up for if you visit  I wasn’t able to find any relationship between Blumail and PayPal.

2) The Heading: “You’ve Got New Fund!” –  Not all of us are English majors, but I’m pretty sure the word “fund” could use an “s.” If you look at an official PayPal payment email subject line, it says, “You’ve got funds!” so how can PayPal be inconsistent when it stands as a worldwide, billion-dollar entity?

3) No PayPal Logo: Nowhere in the email did I find an official PayPal graphics or logos.

4) No Money: When I logged into my PayPal account associated with the email address given to Alpacino, there were no funds available and no new notifications on my PayPal dashboard.

5) Too Much Text: When I would receive notification emails from PayPal, they would not be this long-winded.  After I carefully read through the email, I found small inconsistencies like misplaced periods and commas.  Also, there was too much emphasis on contacting the PayPal “rep” at the listed email address, [email protected]; the email reiterated that instruction three times.       

Another Scambook user reported a simliar situation:

“I was selling an iPod trough, and I got a response for this guy who was intrested but he wanted to make this transaction through PayPal, so I said ok no problem because that was not the first time I dealt with PayPal.  I received an email from PayPal (FAKE PayPal but it looks exactly like the real ones I used to receive from PayPal) confirming his payment to my account and that my account will only be credited when I ship the item to the address they gave me. So that’s what I did. The next day they sent me another email telling me that there was a mistake with the payment and I received more money than I should be receiving, so they still cant credit my account.  I had to send that extra money that I was given ($200) and then the next day I had to pay some custom due to release the item ($150).  They also told me I would be credited on that from the buyer that was basicly behind all of this. Finally I didn’t get any of my money, and I lost the item so please, I would like to know if theres any way I could get at least my money back or is it just to late for that?”

For those of you who have had a simliar experience, please share with your fellow Scambook users and me below, and leave a comment.  Also, if you run into a simliar situation, forward your email to [email protected], which is the address PayPal designated for reporting suspicious activity.

People are becoming more cunning by the minute, so if there are any other variations out there of this situation, please submit a complaint to Scambook and include any screenshots you can take in your submission.  Also, be sure to black out any personal information when submitting any evidence.



See Also

What The PayPal Policy Update Means To You: Take Action By Dec 1st
PayPal or PayPai: Don’t Fall for this Phishing Fraud
How to Sell on Craigslist and Not Get Scammed: 4 Great Tips You Need to Know

About The Author

Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages.

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8 Responses

  1. s.holm

    I have got both offers for 1000 gift cards from false Walmart and false Best Buy. How can I stop them from sending me these scams messages ?

  2. Tuanh

    Hi s.holm,

    Here are a few things you can do to help stop the messages:

    – Forward the email to [email protected]

    – Forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected]

    – Forward the email to the “abuse” email address at the company that is being spoofed (e.g. “[email protected]”)

    – When forwarding spoofed messages, always include the entire original email with its original header information intact

    – Notify The Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI by filing a complaint in their website:

    I hope this helps!


  3. Lloyd

    Hi s.holm,

    There is nothing you can do to stop these scam messages from coming to you except change your e-mail address which will work for a while. All you can possibly accomplish is to make sure that you know how to spot scams messages, and then delete them as they come in.

    Sure you can do as Tuanh suggested, but all that effort will simply prove to be an exercise in futility. Reporting scammers in 99.999% of cases will not stop them as those organizations referenced rarely take any action to do so because most of the time the scammers are overseas and not within their respective jurisdictions. Also, as soon as one email address or website is shut down, another will start up doing the same thing all over again.

  4. Brian

    yes ive had same problem off craigslist ,rt now i hav a guy who is trying to giv me moore than i asked for a lantern,ha,then his spelling and his story goes same way that he is going to send me extra cash,for my troubles,total red flag ,he wouldnt get me name of his bank,to let me see if he even banked at a bank here in states or to vaifiy he exists,i told him to piss off.

  5. Karen Carpenter

    I regularly post items for sale on Craigslist. One sign that I have definitely picked up on is that the names are usually two first names like Joseph James that make up the name of the “buyer.” Also all that is usually stated is this: “Is the item still for sale?” Always ask people to pick up the phone and CALL you if they are for real they will. I used to use texting but the scammers have caught onto that now also. There is always a link noted at the bottom of the email when you get the responses that ask you to click on it if it is a suspected scam. Do it! I have began getting far less scam reply’s since I started clicking on the link and reporting the scammers. I guess C.L. automatically blocks that email. It makes it more difficult for scammers if they have to keep creating new email addresses and oftentimes C.L. will not allow them to verified unless they have a valid phone number also. I have noted that people are taking charge as in my home state of Alaska a site called Alaska’s List was created and there is no spam on it. It’s really awesome and you are more likely to deal with locals. That brings a lot more ease to the seller and buyers. Good luck!

  6. Janice

    This company ripped me off of $5,000.00 and I havre been fighting to get it back for over a year. Now they had the nerve to call me out of the blue and tell me I will be receiving my money back, well once again another scam, they want me to sign their form stating I have received the refund, once again it has been 5 day’s and no money, yet they sure wanted me to sign their form.

  7. Cheryl

    Report any PayPal scams to [email protected]. They are always working to identify scammers and stop them from these scams. I also received ‘payment’ from someone who alledgely purchase some jewelry I posted on craigslist via PayPal and knew it was fake right away. Anytime someone wants to pay you more for something than you’ve listed it for, beware!


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