Craigslist and OfferUp Paypal Scam

offerup scam

Craigslist, LetGo, and OfferUp Scams Are Using a New Twist

While Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo, Oodle, or Facebook Marketplace contains many legitimate ads, they also bring out many scammers. These crooks use the sites to make a quick buck by taking advantage of their victims’ trusting nature. One such scam is currently circulating on the site: it is known as the Paypal System is Down Scam, aka the OfferUp PayPal Scam.

It begins with the victim posting a high-dollar item for sale. The scammer will contact the seller and develop an amicable discussion about the item for sale, first by email and then by text message. This is key.


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Once the scammer has gained their victim’s trust, they will commit to purchasing the item through PayPal. The victims usually think that since PayPal is a reputable business, it should not be a problem to get the transaction done, and they agree.

“PayPal System Is Down”

When the time to pay comes, the scammer contacts the seller and tells them that PayPal’s system is down or that his network is not available at the moment. Banking on the trust he has built with the victim, he requests that the victim sends the item via a parcel service. He says he’s in a hurry and has a great need to get the item as quickly as possible. Often crooks will request the seller to overnight the thing to them.

Once the victims send the item, they never receive payment for the item shipped. They are also out the price of overnight mailing the object, which can be an excessive amount in itself depending on weight. When they try to contact the buyer, the phone number is no longer in service. They often find out the shipping address is for a generic mailbox service.

This trick could easily be categorized as one of the most common OfferUp scams. However, it could also be found under the list of Craigslist scams and LetGo scams.

OfferUp PayPal Scam: How To Avoid

First and foremost, never ship an item to a buyer until you have been paid for the item. Then, make sure the money is truly in your bank account. Don’t accept checks either. If you do, do not release the item to the buyer until the check has cleared both your bank and the buyer’s bank.

Many sellers on Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo, or Facebook Marketplace opt only to sell their items locally and only accept cash. This is the best way to protect yourself. However, when doing so, never give the buyer your home address.

Meet in a public place to exchange the item for cash to avoid various Craigslist or OfferUp buyer scams. Free enterprise on the internet is a great thing; beware of scammers who will often go to great lengths to get something for nothing. Learn how to avoid Craigslist scams (or the ones that happen on similar platforms) here.

OfferUp PayPal Scam: How To Report

Warn your family and friends about the OfferUp Scam by sharing this article on social media using the buttons provided. If you are wondering how to report phone scams, you can also officially do it to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here

How To Protect Yourself More

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodic emails – we promise not to spam.

Meanwhile, educate yourself with some other Craigslist and OfferUp fraud-related articles right under this paragraph, so that you know how to stay safe online. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.

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selma hrynchuk
Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

1 thought on “Craigslist and OfferUp Paypal Scam”

  1. Offerup is such a terrible app. I have had nothing but scammers and flakes contacting me about items I’m selling since downloading the app. Here are some recent messages I received from 3 different accounts (with my comment in parentheses):

    1)
    I would like to buy your Nintendo Game Boy advance SP Flame Red, Charger, 2 gameboy Games – READ ENTIRE AD BEFORE REPLYING for $105.00
    (he never read the ad, because I asked for buyer to leave phone number, when I replied, the jerk offered me $50 for a $100 lot including games)

    2)
    I’m interested does it work ok
    (All of the details were posted in the ad, including a photo of the Nintendo Game Boy working. When I replied “read the ad please”

    3)
    Hi, is this still available?
    (This guy had 100 feedbacks and never read my ad, nor did he reply when I said yes, it’s available)

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