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Scam watch: PayPal T&Cs exploited to defraud seller

Online shopping scam

A Which? member asked us for advice when his daughter unwittingly became liable for an online selling scam using Paypal.

Which? member Richard Hogg told us: ‘My daughter placed an advert on Gumtree to sell her laptop for £250. She received a call from a lady who wanted to buy it, provided it was OK for her dad to transfer the cash, as she didn’t have a bank account.

‘My daughter gave her account details. The money arrived, so she arranged with the buyer for the laptop to be collected in person.

‘A few days later, she was confused to get a call from PayPal saying that one of its customers had paid her for an iPhone but hadn’t received it.

‘Further investigation revealed the scam – the scammer saw the advertised laptop, then placed her own ad to sell an iPhone for £250. Once someone contacted her to buy the phone, she asked if they would transfer the cash into her friend’s account, as she didn’t have one.

‘They agreed and the scammer provided them with my daughter’s Paypal details. The buyer of the iPhone then put the £250 into my daughter’s account, which my daughter presumed had been transferred by the father of the lady who was buying her laptop.

‘When the buyer of the iPhone didn’t receive their paid-for goods, they asked PayPal for a refund. Despite my daughter being the victim of a slick scam, PayPal insisted that she refund the money, as its terms state that customers must only hand over an item to the person who actually paid for it.

‘The scammer has her laptop and the police aren’t interested.’

Our advice on online selling scam

The police concluded that no crime had been committed because the member’s daughter had the money in her bank account – and it should be PayPal that pursues the matter. Sadly, however, because PayPal’s terms of sale were broken, little can be done to get the laptop back.

This is a really sophisticated scam. The only way to avoid it is to refuse payment from anyone other than the person buying the item – and to always post items to the address associated with the PayPal account. We’d recommend obtaining proof of postage too.

Have you ever been affected by a similar type of scam involving a PayPal transaction?

Comments
Member

Yes, a slick scam. I am missing a point though, for I cannot see how PayPal is involved if the scammers were obtaining and passing on the daughter’s bank details ( sort code etc). Was it maybe the daughter’s PayPal address which was passed? Perhaps I am a nit picker, but to understand PayPal t&cs, that would be an essential skill.

Member

I must admit I’m equally confused. How did the victim not check who had transferred the money? I admit it was a very slick scam but surely more careful checking would have revealed the problem? The Police said no crime had been committed, but surely fraudulent misrepresentation had occurred? Yes – the members’ daughter had the cash n her account, but the person who took the laptop in effect stole it, as it wasn’t her who’d provided the cash. A lot of unanswered questions…

Member

I can’t see how any bank details have been passed on, simple fraud

Person A selling laptop
Person B says they want to buy and asks for paypal details
Person B advertises iPhone
Person C buys iPhone and pays money to Person A’s Paypal account
Person A hands over laptop to Person B
Person C complains iPhone not delivered

Person C gets refund as iPhone doesn’t exist, person B has laptop, person A has lost out.

Person C doesn’t know who they have paid other than Paypal address, Person A likewise

Member

I am confused. Was the scammer the lady who wanted to buy the laptop in the first place? Or a third person?

Member

THis interests me in so far as the scammer had details of the paypal account going by the prestige of this company and the $billions going through its hands it has a high reputation to uphold. But I found a website detailing how a paypal account can be hacked —more quickly than you think (quote ) . Malware was not used but -quote- they simplky called in , offered the SSN and the four numbers of an old account card , and got in. An email address was added to the account that was made Primary address . This was done against a US software engineer who goes to great lengths to expose scammers on the web. But that wasnt the end 20 minutes later the rogue email address had been added BACK into his account and HIS email address removed and password changed , as he says -quote- “so much for paypal “monitoring ” my account they ( paypal ) couldnt even spot the same fraudulent email address when it occurred the second time . HE then had to provide details of himself again for paypal as paypal had locked the account only when his money was being wired to a 17 year old hacker ( I have withheld his name ) . whats the point – paypal can and is hackable.

Member

What I fail to understand is who did Jims daughter hand the laptop over to “in person” and was she given a false contact address and as Ian makes the point who transferred the money? Was this another case of banking confidentiality on the part of PayPal refusing to disclose the identity of the payer? I am not at all familiar with Paypals T&C’s so can someone enlighten?

Member

Duncan, your comment was as complicated, if not more so than the subject on hand 🙂

Member

Yes – so far as I can see this was a telephone trick. I can’t find any suggestion that PayPal had been hacked.

I am innocent of this form of trading so I don’t know how PayPal set out their terms and conditions, but they ought to make bold and highlight the rules about handing over articles for sale – (a) what should buyers present as verifiable proof of identity, and (b) what identity checks should sellers carry out on their doorsteps; and what is the procedure when (a) doesn’t satisfy (b)? And what rules do Gumtree have – why are PayPal calling all the shots?

Member

As my post says Beryl- -quote- “whats the point ” ( of my post ) that Paypal is not secure . What you are dealing with here Beryl is the technical means used to access somebodies account in Paypal there is no “simple ” way of putting it , much as I would like to simplify it I would need to go through it a step at a time and therefore provide a means for all Which viewers to become hackers.

Member

John , once the hack occurred the scammer THEN had the ability to call Paypal and arrange the transaction as the convo said -quote- the scammer provided my daughters bank details .

Member

No hacking was required in this case. The scammer already had the bank details for the fraudulent iPhone sale because she had offered to buy the laptop. There was no iPhone for sale – that was the ruse. What we don’t know is who collected the laptop.

I agree with Ian. This was a criminal act and the police should have pursued it back through Gumtree’s and PayPal’s records.

Member

No hacking needed at all. Paypal was secure. Fraud was because you should never hand over goods in person for a Paypal transaction, send by post or accept cash on collection

Member

I’ve just been transferring my energy to E.ON – thanks John W., you prompted this as they have a new deal that suits me. However, that has left my brain a little tired, and I, too, am confused by this tale. If money was transferred to Jim’s daughter’s bank account directly from the purchaser’s bank account, then I don’t see where PayPal come into this. Clearly I have missed something, but I wish these Intros were edited to make sure they were clear as to facts. Perhaps it could be modified to explain the true situation more clearly?

Member

Paypal hold all your bank details anybody gaining access to Paypal then has the ability to influence money transactions. Unless somebody is saying they were obtained by accessing the bank or somebody intercepted any transactions taking place on the web to obtain the bank details . This isnt a case of the bank details appearing out of thin air.

Member

Agreed, Malcolm. Tommy Cooper used to do pieces like that . . . well, not like that . . . his tricks made sense.

Member

Duncan, PayPal was brought into the case by trickery. They were used by the woman who wanted to buy the laptop to give credence to the fake sale to an accomplice of a non-existent iPhone in order to get back the money she had paid for the laptop. The accomplice got the money back for the false iPhone sale and the scammer got the laptop for nothing. The laptop buyer and the accomplice could have been the same person. If the laptop was going to be collected then the seller could have insisted on cash instead of a money transfer, but we have a psychological tendency to trust someone who has agreed to pay us for something.

Member

I have just clicked on “Paypals terms of sale” in the header, they are a joke! How anyone can understand or even plough through them is enough to put anyone off purchasing anything with their ‘protection’?
Self protection is the aim here I would guess!

Member

You guessed right Beryl.

Member

Good point Beryl. I wonder if a court would decide that PayPal’s terms were not legally binding under Pt 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Terms must be fair – not weighting the contract unfairly against the consumer. They must be transparent (if written) – enabling the consumer to make informed choices for instance using clear, jargon-free language consumers can understand [HMG Guidance]. I think even a High Court judge would stumble over this case but it’s time some of these labyrinthine terms and conditions were put to the test. PayPal can afford the best lawyers to tie the customer up in knots in order to deter any claims against the company and drag out any legal action until the claimants run out of money.

Member

If you dont mind a slight deviation from the convo but directly related to your post John . Britain’s culture of secrecy and information denial could be fueling widespread corruption – Transparency international . Hackney Borough invested in projects costing £14 million but the documents were so heavily redacted that it was impossible to tell who received the cash the NGO could only decipher around one third of cases .The “counting the pennies ” study found that it was so complex it defied analysis –information presented with –quote- no fewer than 81,057 different column names used by public authorities to describe how the money was spent . Director Duncan Hames said it was so blurry it could succor and protect corrupt individuals. The study analyzed £2.3 Trillion of publicly available transactions by local government – 2011 – 2015 .

Member

I am not sure how your comments are related to my remarks on unfair terms and the CRA nor to the PayPal scam. And I do not accept that the UK has a “culture of secrecy and information denial”.

There is a Freedom of Information Act and an Information Commissioner.
Most official bodies are transparent and forthcoming.
Government writes in plain English.
Transparency International UK is described as an NGO as though that makes it in some way official but it is not a government organisation and is not acting on behalf of the UK government; it therefore has no powers of disclosure or examination of legally withheld information.
If £2.3 trillion of contracts were examined and only £14 million attracted comment as possibly open to corruption that sounds fairly creditable to me.
I have no knowledge of the matters you are referring to at Hackney Council but I
presume the council offered a justification, which has not been reported, for redacting text in documents in accordance with the law.
The council, or if necessary the court, could authorise disclosure to official investigators.
All local authorities are subject to independent external audit and the public has a right to inspect all relevant documents before the audit commences.

I note that Transparency International UK states publicly that “whilst public finance transparency is much better in the UK than many other places globally, poor quality, inaccessible and redacted data is preventing the public, journalists and investigators from scrutinising public spending”. I think that is a fair comment as there is always room for improvement.

Interesting though this might be to some, I don’t think we should deflect attention away from the appalling scams that seem to be associated with private buying and selling through the internet, and how American companies like e-Bay and PayPal [now separate but previously joined at the hip] have terms and conditions that make it difficult for buyers and sellers to receive fair treatment when their transactions go wrong, and do not have robust measures in place to prevent and act against dishonest trading.

Member

………….and the police said no crime had been committed. Obviously much too complicated a case for them to. crack!

Member

“The police concluded that no crime had been committed…”

As others have noted, the “buyer” fraudulently offered a non-existent iphone for sale and then conned its would-be buyer into funding the con, via a cunning play on the paypal T’s & C’s.

A complicated way of obtaining a 2nd hand laptop. Honest folk just buy them – or scrounge them from their friends.

Member

I find this not only bizarre and the most awkward way of getting a free second hand laptop imaginable, but there are quite a few unanswered questions. I’ve taken the time to break the case down into its 3 associated components.

Part 1
Victim advertises Laptop on Gumtree
Female offers to buy it
Victim provides her bank details to Female
Paypal enters and claims victim has been paid for iPhone from Victim.

Part 2
Female had seen Gumtree ad for laptop
Female advertises non-existent iPhone on – what? Was that ebay?
Female claims her iPhone buyer was asked to pay money into Victim’s account (Crime)
Female provides Victim’s bank details (Crime)

So Paypal was clearly the method used to pay in Part 2, but why Paypal? This is the part that’s far from clear to me. When you use Paypal, as I do very rarely, you don’t provide your bank details at all. You only provide them in the initial instance to Paypal themselves. So there’s a clear disconnect between parts 1 and 2.

Part 3
iPhone buyer doesn’t get iPhone
iPhone buyer asks Paypal for refund
Police say no crime…
Paypal claim their hands are clean

There’s far too much which doesn’t add up to me. The needless transferring of bank details, the claimed gullibility of the victim, the Police’s apparent lack of interest, the sheer needless complexity of the entire arrangement.

I discussed this in detail with my other half, whose professional expertise as an expert witness in court has equipped her well to deal with behaviour like this and she arrived at a very rapid conclusion. In effect, the entire Victim tale sounds contrived and convoluted. Derek made the most obvious point (above) and it may well be that the Father (the member) had believed his poor daughter’s sorry tale without question. In effect it would be very interesting to hear exactly what had happened from alleged victim. One has to wonder if the Police actually interviewed the victim and, if so, how searching were their questions. On balance, then, it all sounds a tad fishy.

Member

I think the error here is saying “bank details”. No bank details appear to be given, it’s purely Paypal account not bank info.

Member

For balance I would add that Googling “Kreb – paypal hack” will reveal just how poor Paypal’s security really is, however. Kreb was hacked through a socially engineered approach, and didn’t need malware.

Member

Thats who I get emails from Ian -Kreb – and who said man had a “superior ” brain ? – Thats some bit of intrigue by a female .

Member

Shame that great brain wasn’t applied to an honest purpose in life.

Member

Hi all, thanks for your comments.

From my communications with the member, I believe it was only Paypal details that were exchanged – not bank details.

To clarify, Paypal states in its terms and conditions that ‘a key eligibility requirement of the Seller Protection Programme is that the seller must post the item to the address which appears on the transaction details page’ which is why there’s little the member can do to rectify the situation.

Member

Thanks for the partial elucidation, Joe, but your header says this:

‘They agreed and the scammer provided them with my daughter’s bank details.

So from that it would seem that bank details were exchanged. Or your header is wrong.

Member

Ian – thats what got me confused , as has been said , when you join Paypal you must provide details of your bank account to them thats why I thought it had been hacked either Paypal direct or the daughter,s through less than secure Internet practice or her computer or device was hacked . But I seem to be outvoted here on that point.

Member

To be honest the real story seems very different from what’s been printed above. Joe says only Paypal details were exchanged, yet the headline article claims Bank details were exchanged in at least two separate places. Joe needs to address this as it seems the entire story above is laced with inaccuracies and confusion. Why do we want accuracy? Because this article purports to be about avoiding scams, yet the information in it is somewhat inaccurate, to put it mildly.

Member

Ian- I have read over the years and even recently on “security issues ” websites that it is not the policy of big banks to devulge that they have been hacked nor for that matter Paypal or websites that are seemingly “secure ” , in most cases they pay out just to keep it from the public . I also know our own security departments wont devulge much info to the public and I know of some of the means they use to trace people but also they too dont like lowering public confidence . I couldnt post a few of the cases that showed ,shall we say, less than secure practices by institutions that are held in regard. Maybe this is a case here but its all supposition isnt it ? Your right of coarse we need a full defining answer to this to allay public confidence.

Member

Credit card fraud is published, from my recollection. If the data is true of course. I don’t see why bank account, or PayPal fraud should be withheld.

Member

Thanks Joe. This still leaves unanswered questions, but let’s move on. What is Which?’s remedy for such confusion and opportunities for crime, given that warnings alone won’t change much?

Member

If the laptop contained any automatic backups to cloud, the the daughter might use the password to reveal the thief’s identity. If the laptop is used to access the internet over the coming weeks, letters and photos etc from the new user may be revealed to the daughter.

All assuming that the laptop had not been securely cleaned by the daughter prior to its eventual theft.

Member

And the issue of why the police concluded there’d been ‘no crime’ remains a mystery.

Member

Maybe if they had put Noddy’s friend Mr Plod onto the case he may have come up with a better solution 🙂

He may have suggested that any potential scammer can deduce that the ordinary man in the street on his patrol can (a) read all of Paypals T&C’s and (b) understand them.

Member

Oooops! A slight correction should read “DOES NOT read all of Paypals T&C’s and understands them.”

Member

See how easy it is to put the wrong information on line. I suggest the problem with any online contribution – Convo, email, bank account details – is that it is all too easy to send it before we’ve properly reviewed it, and we then don’t look at it again as a routine. We need some way to review before we send like “read this carefully before you press submit” or “………….post comment”. It is just too instantaneous and the damage is then done. It took a while, if you remember, to get an edit facility – albeit for only 15 minutes – on Convo, thanks to @patrick.

Member

We do need the edit time extending. Long posts need studying in a different setting, because one often misses summat that appears fine in the original composition.

Member

The Member Community forum allows editing at any time, which is handy. The claimed downside is that the gist of a comment can be changed after replies are received.

Member

In which case the ‘buyer’ (scammer) of the laptop was able to flaunt the PayPal T&C’s by arranging to collect the laptop “in person” from the seller (victim) who omitted to either obtain a contact address or was given a false address by the buyer (scammer). The seller (victim) must have felt confident inasmuchas it was OK to hand the laptop over as she had already received payment for it, which is key, because this is where the scammer gained a psychological advantage over the unsuspecting victim.

If the victim was ‘the friend’ whose account details were used to transfer the money for the non-existent iPhone then was it not possible to trace the person who paid the money into the victims account who thought she was paying for the fake advertised iPhone and explain the situation that they had both been the victims of cyber crime?

Ian your last paragraph could be explained quite simply. Do you remember the party game we used to play as children called Chinese Whispers where one person was given a written message and told to whisper the message into the ear of the person sitting next to them and telling them to pass it onto the next person until the last person sitting around the table came up with an entirely different message to the original? This is happening in real life all the time through the media and all other communication systems so everyone ultimately receives a distorted version of the original true story.

Member

Beryl, your last paragraph reminds of a cartoon of the misinterpretation to build a swing. If you goggle images for ‘The project management tree swing’ you will see what I mean.

Member

Brilliant stuff alfa! Is this why my addled old brain keeps telling me to type Alpha instead of alfa 🙂 ?????

Member

I’m sure you can do beta, Beryl. 🙂

Member

I have no iota Wavechange of whether you meant better or beater 🙂

Member

This is an early version. There are colour ones.

Member

Glad you liked it Beryl. I think there is only one of me on here whichever spelling you use, so don’t worry about it.

Malcolm’s version is the one I remember, but I see there are modernised versions around now.

Member

I don’t think the crucial element of Paypal’s conditions is either difficult or unclear: “‘a key eligibility requirement of the Seller Protection Programme is that the seller must post the item to the address which appears on the transaction details page’ “. To me that’s basic common-sense. And here’s where anyone ought to have smelt a rat. If the alleged Female scammer was able to collect the laptop in person (presumably the only way it could be delivered other than by post as per Paypal’s Ts and Cs) the obvious question is why the money wasn’t delivered at the same time.

Now, I can accept some social engineering has gone on to convince the victim that there was a perfectly logical reason why the money first had to be transferred to her bank account instead of being personally handed over, clearly the most secure method, but I can’t understand how the victim didn’t pause for thought and ask her father whether this was an acceptable practice. It simply doesn’t make sense.

I’m also very curious as to the Police response. That doesn’t make sense, either.

I appreciate I’m like a dog with a bone, here, but I’m still disturbed that the Gloria Hunniford story ran with the tagline ‘Scammed’ in it, when nothing could have been further from the truth. Hunniford wasn’t scammed in any sense of the word. Her bank was defrauded, but she wasn’t.

I’ve trawled Google to see if anything remotely as complicated or even similar as this supposed scam exists. I can’t find anything, although scams on Gumtree seem to abound. The bottom line is for people to learn how to use Escrow – http : // transpact . com / . That solves a multitude of problems concerning buyers and sellers.

What we have here is a partial story – a hearsay item as Beryl suggests – and I think Which? really should either supply more details about this case or close it down.

Member

Looks like Ms Hunniford has been listening, Ian – she has started a new Conversation for us on scams using banks.

Member

Spot on Ian. When accepting payment by Paypal never allow collection in person, always cash on collection

Member

Im confused too. Surely the scammer breached pay pal too, regardless of whether the innocent seller did, with intent to defraud because they advertised a non existent item with someone else’s PayPal details they were not authorized to use. I would have thought PayPal would be v interested in that. Even if they cannot directly get the money back as the iPhone buyer was a victim too.

There is an online fraud reporting arm of the police. I have used it before. The regular police don’t have much to do with it. But the internet fraud detection team which you can report to online are better.

The respective sites where the laptop and iPhone were advertised are not mentioned. Reporting to those may also help (may not too) as sometimes it is a repeat offender which fraud, eBay, PayPal and the likes become aware of.

I was lucky to get money back from a fraudulent ipad sale on eBay a few years ago and reported it to internet fraud. But it was nothing as complicated as this!

Member

Both the laptop and the iPhone were advertised on Gumtree. As I said at the beginning, if the laptop was going to be collected there was no need for any money transfers and stories about not having a bank accoint. The buyer should have turned up with the cash – not doing that should have rung an alarm bell somewhere.

Sounds like a case for DCI Banks.

Member

Studies show that just 7% of people read the full terms and conditions so why is this? I have my own opinions but ‘the guardian.com – Surveys Show That Just 7% of Britons Read the Full Terms and Conditions’ explains it better than I can.

The fairest way to part solve this particular case is for the two victims to agree to each share one half of the £250 illegally paid to Jims daughter for the laptop. I say “part solve” because this action still lets the scammers off the hook leaving them free to continue with their crimes until terms and conditions are simplified and shortened, excluding all complicated legal terminology and written in a way that everyone can understand and therefore will be more motivated to read them.

Anyone interested in reading up on the science behind the fear of cyber threats and paranoia, the following website may appeal to some of the more scientific minded commenters@ journal.frontiersin.org – Ever-Present Threats From Information Technology: the Cyber-Paranoia and Fear Scale.

Apparently “older people and women exhibited the greatest fear; despite young males being the most victimized”.

Member

But we’re still missing vital facts, surely? We still don’t know

1. If bank details were exchanged
2. If Paypal was used
3. Why the victim accepted the absurd story that the scammer had to transfer the money to the victim’s account when she was clearly able to pick the laptop up
4. Why Paypal say it’s the victim’s fault if their system was used to perpetrate a fraud
5. Why the Police said no crime has been committed.

I don’t think anyone should be attempting to suggest solutions until we’re reasonably certain about what actually occurred. And that’s the one thing about which we can be sure: we don’t know what actually happened.

Member

Perhaps Joe could take note of the confusion and find out all the facts? I don’t think his earlier comment clarifies the story.

Member
K Galloway says:
28 September 2016

My husband has a similar experience a few years ago, he saw a phone for sale on eBay and submitted a request to purchase it however when he was checking the details of the phone it stated he would need to wait for 12 months to receive the item , my husband at this point had already sent the payment to the seller but messaged them to advise he no longer wanted to continue with the purchase as he needed the phone straight away and not in a year’s time, the seller of the item was okay with this and advised that this was not a problem and would return the payment through PayPal back to my husband’s account, my husband received the payment and then transferred it back to his bank account, sometime later he was contacted by PayPal advising he owed them money as the account he had paid the original payment into was fraudulent and therefore the payment he withdrew from PayPal wasn’t his my husband refused to return the payment as in good faith he trusted the so called secured payment method that PayPal are always bragging about, as a result of this my husband was banned from eBay because he was the victim of a scam.

Member

Amazon is currently plagued by scammers. Never ever contact anyone outside of Amazon for a purchase. Do not be fooled by cheap prices. If a product is too cheap to be true then it probably is. BEWARE!!!!

Check out this thread on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/forums/ref=cs_hc_g_repmsg?ie=UTF8&forumID=Fx2GBEOGDU758MG&cdThread=TxJJ5PC3ZV9W7T&cdPage=19#Mx3MJV9W0DWA45T

Member

Amazon is currently plagued by scammers. Never ever contact anyone outside of Amazon for a purchase. Do not be fooled by cheap prices. If a product is too cheap to be true then it probably is. BEWARE!!!!

Check out this thread on Amazon.

——https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/forums/ref=cs_hc_g_repmsg?ie=UTF8&forumID=Fx2GBEOGDU758MG&cdThread=TxJJ5PC3ZV9W7T&cdPage=19#Mx3MJV9W0DWA45T——

Member

And on to real and easily verifiable scams: the Coop has recently changed its Co-op card to a new system, whereby you get 5% on purchases and 1% is given to a local community charity of your choice. It’s being heavily promoted by staff in the shops, and today I received an email with all the correct Co-op headings and logos, perfectly formed English and apparently what I could have been anticipating. The only thing I noticed was a single pharse:

“We’d love to send you your new Membership card so you can make the most of your 5% and 1%, but we don’t think we’ve got the right address.”

after which there were the dreaded and always to be avoided email hyper links. Sure enough, they were directed to some location even Google was unable to divine. This email was a very timely scam email, with highly convincing graphics and – as far as I can tell – not yet reported. So – if you get an email purporting to be from the Coop which starts

We want to share the good news – your Co-op Membership is changing for the better. From 21st September, every time you choose Co-op products and services you’ll earn 5% for you and 1% for your community*.

We’d love to send you your new Membership card so you can make the most of your 5% and 1%, but we don’t think we’ve got the right address

DO NOT follow any of the links but seek the genuine site via a search engine or from your own card or the store. This is a nasty one, since a lot of elderly shoppers will be building a lot of points on their new cards right now and they stand to lose a lot.

Member

Ian- I too received my Co-op card but mine was genuine , however I was less than happy when I used it at my local Co-op . Unlike the old card the new card can ONLY be used for Co-op branded products ,a very sly move as far as I am concerned . As a livelong “Co-oper ” going back another generation in the family I am no longer a “happy bunny ” .

Member

Thanks for your comments everyone. A couple of points to clarify:

Q. Was the whole transaction completed via Paypal?
A. I have contacted the member, who confirmed that his transactions were only completed via PayPal. We’ve updated the copy to reflect this.

Q. Why did the police conclude that no crime had been committed.
A. The money was transferred to the lady’s account in exchange for the laptop, so there was no theft and no loss. The fact that her contract says she has to pay the money back is then a contractual issue which she needs to fight out with PayPal.

Member

Thanks for the update, m’lud.

If it pleases the Convo, may I draw your attention to Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006,
“Fraud by false representation”:
(1)A person is in breach of this section if he—
(a)dishonestly makes a false representation, and
(b)intends, by making the representation—
(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

(2)A representation is false if—
(a)it is untrue or misleading, and
(b)the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.

(3)“Representation” means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of—
(a)the person making the representation, or
(b)any other person.

(4)A representation may be express or implied.

(5)For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).

Hence, as far as I can see the person who offered an iphone for sale but then did not ship one to the person who paid £250 for said iphone did indeed commit fraud.

Member

The money that was transferred was fraudulently paid into the daughters account as it was intended as payment for an iPhone that didn’t exist. The daughter was conned by the scammer into believing the money she received had been paid via the scammers fathers account, as the scammer didn’t have an account, so the payer must have been a male who was under the impression he was paying for an iPhone via the scammers ‘friends’ account, the ‘friend’ happened to be the daughter who sold the laptop, therefore a crime of theft and fraud by deception had been committed.

The only claim by PayPal is that the daughter broke their T&C’s by agreeing to hand the laptop over to the scammer when she should have posted it. The scammer obviously was not prepared to agree to her posting it as it would have involved disclosing her identity and address.

The reality of this saga is, the scammer stole the laptop by theft, deception and fraud, conning not one but two people, the buyer of an iPhone that didn’t exist and the daughter who unknowingly accepted money stolen by the scammer for her laptop.

Member
Roger Cutler says:
28 September 2016

I paid for a computer programme which was reduced in price but had to be paid for by PayPal. I paid £250 to PayPal by credit card & they transferred the money to the programmer ; who communicated with me initially, but never sent the programme & eventually stopped replying to my e-mails. The site telephone number didn’t connect to anything. PayPal weren’t interested & said it was between me & the vendor. Credit cards don’t have to, & usually won’t , refund PayPal payments by card like they do other purchases. PayPal is looked on as a cash payment. Fortunately, First Direct behaved impeccably & did re-imburse me.

I have stopped using PayPal for payments. They seem to lack any moral code.

Member
Robert says:
28 September 2016

I use PayPal on a regular basis for my business, if you require a payment all you need to do is go onto the PayPal site and send an invoice to the buyers email address.

The purchaser can then pay using a credit/debit card or PayPal account if they have one, nobody needs to send account details to anyone else to receive payment and once the money is in your account PayPal will inform you. Once payment is received post signed and tracked service to the address confirmed on the PayPal payment and if it’s a collection in person ask for ID and get a signature.

I’m not here to defend PayPal as they do sometimes get things wrong but many issues are due to the stupidity of customers who don’t understand or don’t use the system correctly.

NEVER give any account details to strangers as they will con you.

Member
Robert says:
28 September 2016

The emailed invoice will also have a full description of the item so everyone knows what the payment is for, so no room for argument over the item being purchased.

Member
derek groom says:
28 September 2016

unsubscribe

Member

Hello Derek, if there’s something we can help you with here then please email us at conversation.comments@which.co.uk

Member
Graham Lockwood says:
2 October 2016

This does appear to be a very sophisticated scam. As someone who has worked in the banking and financial service industry for 40 years I do have serious doubts about the responsibility of identifying where the funds originated from that arrived in Mr Hogg’s daughter’s bank account. Once the money was in her account she was not legally obliged to give her bank the authority to return the payment and they would not have the authority to do it without her permission. You could see all sorts of possibilities with this scenario. In this type of transaction as the two parties are not known to each other personally how are you to be absolutely sure that the payment came from the person you expected it to? Although unlikely as it may be, you could, in theory, have a situation where the person buying your goods and the person paying you are two different people with the same name ( I think I read that there are something like 50,000 people in the UK named John Smith so not an impossible situation) and you would find yourself in the same situation as Mr Hogg’s daughter and you could reasonably argue that you checked the name of the source of the funds and found it to be the name you were expecting. In this case as far as you are concerned John Smith bought the laptop and John Smith paid for it. There is absolutely no way as the person receiving the funds into your bank account that you can be sure that these are one and the same person. The onus surely should be on the person paying the funds into an account to get it right, not the person receiving the funds. If it had been me, I would have taken this to court and argued on this basis. Either way a fraud has been committed so why didn’t the police investigate. Isn’t that their job?

Member
Paul says:
12 October 2016

Surely regardless of Paypal’s Ts &Cs, fraud has been committed by the person who obtained the laptop, so the police should be pursuing that regardless? I think this is an area Which should determine a position and make clear to the Police.