GREENSBORO, N.C. — Call it “COVID Consolidation” or maybe even “The COVID Clean-sweep”. Whatever you call it, you've got boxes and bags of stuff out of the closet, garage or attic and some stuff you could sell and make a few bucks.
For example, a friend of mine put this Cabella's hunting jacket on eBay. The gently used jacket started with a bid of $40. A short time later there were a few bids and it ended up with a $60 purchase price. Great.
This is the easiest money ever made, right?
When the payment came in, the money paid was crazy. The PayPal email stated there was a payment made of $410. There was an important note on the bottom of the email:
This will not be credited to your account until the picture of the scratch eBay gift card is sent to use for verification as to secure both the buyer and seller.
The idea was, the buyer wanted to send the jacket and this gift card to a friend, but for some reason couldn’t buy it himself. The seller would make $50 extra by buying this gift card and showing the number as proof. Sounds like you might want to help a guy out, but don’t be fooled.
“I've never gone into any store and saw a gallon of milk for $2 and said, ‘here's an extra $50 for you to buy me a gift card with’. That just doesn't happen,” explained John Breyault of the National Consumers League. “If someone overpays you on any marketplace, eBay or Craigslist, it's a big red flag.”
The National Consumers League sees this kind of thing all the time.
Overpayment is always a scam tactic.
Anytime a gift card is involved as payment that's a scam too.
In this case, there was an email from PayPal. It looked real. But it wasn’t. Scammers are very creative and can use logos and spoof emails, text numbers, and phone numbers.
The advice to consumers is, just because you get an email from PayPal or your bank even doesn't mean you should trust it
So, stop! Before you click on a link, text back or call a number, go and look up the phone number or website on your own.
“A consumer affected by one of these scams should report it. Not only are you helping yourself, you're reporting a crime, but you'll be helping other people. When you report a scam it helps regulators and police departments and your Attorney General build a record of this and hopefully prevent others from being scammed.”