Be Tech Literate, Avoid Online SCAM Buyers

By Aimee V. Mendoza

If we are avoiding scam sellers, we should too be aware of scam buyers.

If you are an online seller, you should be aware of your buyers even if they promise to pay you a larger amount for the goods you are selling.

For those who are planning to have their online business, or sell something online by signing up on several online shops, you should become technology literate.

According to the study, there are over 1.5 million worldwide victims of cybercrime daily. Email scam is one of the most common cybercrimes.

scamWhat does “scam” mean?

Scam as defined by, is a fraudulent scheme performed by a dishonest individual, group, or company in an attempt obtain money or something else of value.


Here’s how I encountered one.

The fraud buyer will actually text you, most of the time he/she will be using an internet text tool so you won’t record his/her number.

text message

Then he/she will ask you if the item you are selling is still available and will ask you about the product you are selling and will look like that he/she is interested in the product and will ask you to reply to his/her email account.

Believing that this is an interested buyer, I had quickly replied via email. The fraud buyer will confirm the condition of the product you are selling though you already posted it on your post in the online shop.

After he/she has confirmed that the product is in good condition, he/she will then ask you if you have a Paypal account or any means of online payment.

1 asking paypal

Once he/she confirms that you have a Paypal account, he/she will ask you to ship the product to an address.

sending address

I took my time and effort to search how much would it take to ship the item to that far continent (Africa). Afterwards, I sent the buyer the quote of the shipment fee.

The buyer will agree and will then ask you to send Paypal money request for the payment to his/her email.  It is one of Paypal’s process to request money.


Then after you requested, he/she will email you that he/she is now processing the payment. In a short while, the buyer will tell you that he/she finally received an alert from Paypal that the payment has been made and they have also sent you a notification in your email.

When you check your email, you will receive something like this:

Fraud Paypal 1

And another message that Paypal had deducted an amount from your client but still showing pending in your Paypal balance until you ship out the item and will ask you to get back to them with the tracking or reference number.

Fraud Paypal 2


—-DON’T fall for this!

First, check if the sender is legit Paypal email. Even if you see the logo or any Paypal images in an email, it doesn’t mean it is legit, they could have just used a template.

Check the sender info on your email header:

We could clearly distinguish the difference between the fraud and legit email sender.

Notice that the fraud one created a name “paypalse*******8” using an email service.

PayPal for sure will not do this, they wouldn’t use an email service because they have their own secured domain address —

For more info on how to spot fake emails, see:

Now, after I had identified that the buyer is fraud and he/she is only deceiving me by his fake emails, I never replied again because I knew he/she wouldn’t stop bugging my email.

After a day, the fraud buyer sent me a message in all caps and accusing me as a scammer that he/she will be reporting me for trying to scam him/her.

scammer_msg too

And after a short while, an email was sent to me, and that was sent to my Junk/Spam folder. And that’s one of the cue that the email is not from a legit sender.

It says:



He would also send you an array of pictures of arrested citizens to threaten you.


And what’s more, it says that the buyer you are dealing with is a “Major Army force Military in USA” and he already contacted his lawyer in the Philippines and in the USA for opening the case and that an investigation will take place. And they say that they would wait 24-48 hrs for you to get the item shipped.


Now, I become the accused, but I am supposed to be the victim here!

–Again, DON’T fall for this!

Report the email as SPAM and next time it will send you a message, it will go to the junk mail.

Report the email as spam

There are lot of ways on how we can report online scammers, but most of them will just be posted on the website, and no one will take action specially if the info of the buyer/seller you are dealing with is very limited.  So we should be cautious in buying and selling our items online.

Next time you are buying or selling online, you should:

  • Background check the seller or the buyer of the goods. Ask related details not only about the product but also about his name, location, etc.
  • Find out how many transactions they already made online
  • Look for the seller/buyer’s positive and negative feedback (Applicable only if the buyer/seller has a registered online account)


  • If you are contacting via email, identify first if he/she is using a legitimate email or account. If the user looks suspicious, don’t reply anymore.
  • In most occasions, your hunch can help you identify if the one who contacted you or the one you are contacting is a serious buyer/seller
  • If a meetup will take place, bring at least someone with you so you can be safe, just in case anything happens.

And remember,  don’t let your guard down in dealing with unknown persons, even if they pose as buyers.

I have been an online seller and online buyer for almost five years and my usual transaction after dealing online is via meetups or man-to-man deal. Thank God that I haven’t been fooled by anyone in the goods that I had sold, and goods that I had bought from them and I had been satisfied in almost all of the items I bought online.

If you are still worrying about dealing with online sellers. You could just choose from an online shopping website, especially the one that offers COD or Cash on Delivery. In that way you could have a hassle-free transaction.

If you are worrying about selling online, then you might just want to sell your item via social media sites where only your friends could see the post. Giving you peace of mind on who can be your prospective buyers.

Most of all, be tech-literate and always be updated with the latest trends especially in security and privacy. Be mindful of whom you deal online, be vigilant and be very careful. So as the wise man says, “Think before you click!”

(Eagle News Service, Written by A.V. Mendoza)