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Fraudulent buyers on Marktplaats

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I had an iPhone for sale on Marktplaats.nl for €280. Last week a bid came for the exact amount. So I thought, hey, cool!

In a message, the buyer wrote that (s)he would pay asap via Paypal and 'add an extra €50 for shipping'. I answered the next day and asked where to send the iPhone to. The answer was 'abroad'.
Sidenote: communication was in English, not in Dutch. So duh, I knew it would go abroad.

The next day she asked for my Paypal name and again said (s)he would pay 'asap'. That was the 3rd day - so far for 'asap'.
I said that (s)he only needs my e-mail address for Paypal and I gave it.

A day later (s)he would be paying again 'asap' and asked again for my Paypal name. So I typed my name.
And I added that I would send the iPhone to the address mentioned in the Paypal-payment - whenever that payment would come.

(S)he answered 'yes' and that was it. Never heard of them again and the next day, the anti-scam robot of Marktplaats removed the fraudulent account and all their biddings.

So I googled a bit why someone would 'add another 50 bucks for shipping' and I came across the so-called 'overpayment scam'.
I know some one who works at Paypal as a security officer and I asked him what this exactly is and how the swindler would benefit.

His answer:


The overpayment scam is where the buyer overpays for the item, then requests you refund the overpayment via wire transfer or Western Union (or a similar non-revocable payment method). Sometimes the payment is real, but uses stolen funds, and other times the payment is fake – i.e. the fraudster sends a spoofed PayPal email to the seller telling them they have funds. So ALWAYS check you actual Paypal account for received payments.

It could be the fraudster doesn't care about whatever it is you're selling and doesn't care that you're shipping the item to the victim, they may be only after the refund.

Likely the buyer was going to have someone pickup the item in person, and have you pay them the overage amount in cash. The payment would have been legitimate in that case because PayPal doesn't protect sellers if they don't have a tracking number.
The buyer can claim you did not give them the item, and if you handed it to them in person, you won't have a tracking number and PayPal will side with the buyer.

Never arrange to deliver an item in person, ALWAYS ship it with a tracking number.
Or if you want to do an in-person deal, refund their payment via PayPal, and have them bring cash when they pick it up.

There are a variety of ways a scammer can get you, so it's best to read through the rules and make sure you adhere to them to prevent losing seller protection from Marktplaats and PayPal.


So, keep this in mind when you have a bidder/buyer who promises you all the money you want for an item you have for sale.
Read more about scams using Paypal here
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