One such scam that has claimed many victims is the Craigslist Payza scam. Since this type of scam is so prevalent, it is important to know what to look for so that you don’t fall victim when shopping or selling online.
There are two versions of this Payza scam:
Version 1: You have a valuable ring that you want to sell on Craigslist, so you post a photo and a description. In a day or two, you receive a reply to your posting from someone who is very interested in buying your ring. They are so interested that they offer to pay even more than the asking price. As you are very excited at the prospect of getting even more money that you asked for, you agree to sell the ring to this person. They give you a P.O. Box where you will send the ring, or an international address. They tell you that they have sent you money via Payza – a credible online payment processor. They give you a transaction number, and tell you that you must submit this number to Payza to claim your money. You send the ring, thinking that you have been paid for it, and contact Payza. However, Payza has no record of this transaction. You have sent your ring to a scammer and will not receive payment for it.
Version 2: You are shopping for a used car on Craigslist. You see an excellent deal on a car that a U.S. soldier has posted. He also posted a sob story: he needs to sell his car so that he can help support his family as he is serving in Afghanistan for 2 years. He is leaving at the end of the month and must sell the car as soon as possible. He is so desperate that he is selling it at a reduced price to attract buyers. You are swept away by this brave soldier’s story that so make an offer, and he agrees. He tells you that you just have to send the money to his P.O. Box, and claim your car from Payza who is holding it for you. He even gives you a transaction number to make the transaction look real.
As audacious as these Payza scams appear, they happen every day, and thousands upon thousands of dollars are lost to scammers this way. But there are some red flags you can look out for to protect yourself and your hard-earned money:
Red Flag #1 – Buyer offers more than the asking price (version 1): This is a guaranteed sign that this is a Payza scam. They are trying to appeal to your desire to make a profit to convince you to send the item without thinking it through. Don’t fall for it.
Red Flag #2 – The Seller has a long sob story to go with his ad (version 2): If they have to tell some long story about why they are selling their item so cheap, then they’re probably trying to appeal to your emotions to put blinders on your sense of reason. Again, don’t fall for it.
Red Flag #3 – They claim that Payza is holding the money/item for you. This is a hallmark of a Payza scam – the buyer or seller tell you that Payza is holding something for you. You just have to submit the transaction number to claim your money or item. But Payza doesn’t work like that. You would receive an email notifying you that someone has sent you money. An account would automatically by opened for you – which you could access through Payza.com – and you would see the money in your Available Balance. If you can’t see that money in your Payza account, you have not been paid.
When in doubt, you can always contact Payza directly and ask them if you have been paid. But whatever you do, do not send the item until you have been legitimately paid. And if you are looking to buy something, never send the money if they tell you Payza is holding a car or anything else for you.
If you want to learn more about how to protect yourself from Payza scams, visit Payza Blog and read this post about online security.