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Craigslist Paypal Scams - How it Works?

A buyer will claim to have sent you payment through PayPal for an item you have placed on Craigslist. You'll get a confirmation email, but it's bogus. If you log into your account directly at, which you should always do, the payment will not be there. The seller will then claim it's an invisible transfer, which is something that does not exist on PayPal.

Craigslist Paypal Scams - How it Works?

The scammers may also send a fake PayPal Payment Notification to you. If you click on the link in it, in an attempt to view the payment, you will be take to a fake PayPal website created by the scammers. And, if you attempt to sign into the fake website, your account credentials will be sent to the scammers.

So, before sending or shipping an item, always sign into your PayPal account directly instead of clicking on a link in an email message, to ensure that you have received your payment.

How to Spot a Craigslist Paypal Scam

  • They might offer you a check or money order. Always a bad idea.
  • They offer to send you a link to set up a PayPal account if you don't have one.
  • They claim to be overseas. In this one, they usually claim that they or a family member is abroad and they need your email to send you that bogus PayPal link we mentioned. Often they claim to be in the military.
  • They ask you to email themselves or a relative to complete the deal. Once again, they need your email to send you that bogus PayPal link.
  • They offer to pay you more than the item is worth for your troubles. It's Craigslist, no one overpays. We don't see this much anymore.
  • They mistakingly sent you too much money in your PayPal account and asked you to wire transfer back the difference.
  • They will often ask a lot of questions about the item that are already covered in the ad.
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Craigslist Paypal Scams - How it Works?