Scammers using Leboncoin and PayPal

I am very embarrassed that I have fallen for this but feel I must share to ensure as many people as possible are aware.
I am fairly new to living in France. still learning the language and and getting to grips with the French way of doing things. A couple of weeks ago I posted some items for sale on Leboncoin and had an email from a lovely women wanting to buy an outfit. She asked if I could post the item as she is in Le Mans and I am in the Lot, she would transfer the money including p&p using Paypal.....quite safe, I thought !!!!
She emailed to say she had transferred the money to my account, soon afterwards an email from Paypal confirms she had transferred funds to my account and once proof of postage had been sent the funds would appear in my account. duly done

Now...this lovely lady told me she is married with 3 children, lives in Switzerland but works in France so commutes spending lonely days in her apartment in Le Mans.

Paypal then write to say that I must send them 600Euros in the form of PCS Mastercard vouchers from the Tabac in order that my account can accept foreign currency...security measure, money laundering etc. The money would be credited to my account for me to withdraw immediately...alarm bell!!! then I get an email from this lovely lady saying she has to do the same and she is so sorry, had not realized that her Swiss currency would be an issue, she later confirmed she had done this. even providing photographs of the vouchers......Well, I thought, this is Paypal, it must be OK and I have already sent an outfit off in the post worth £400...so I bought the vouchers and emailed them photos.
Paypal then have a serious technical issue with their server and are unable to credit my account, it may take a few hours or days....now I know I have done something really silly.
I realise the email address used to send me messages is a gmail.com address (can't be seen on main message, have to search for actual address). The outfit was retuned....no person by this name at the address. I have a received a personal cheque from the Director General of PayPal France (supposedly) for almost 4000 euros, I can take a 550 euro bonus + what they owe (yes that old chestnut) and must send them immediately 2500 euros worth of PCS Mastercard vouchers....obviously I havent and I'm advised by my bank that the cheque is most likely stolen. Paypal confirm the messages are not from them. Yet everyday I am receiving messages threatening legal action quoting the Gendarmerie and Intepol if I don't send them the vouchers by the end of the day.......
I am such a muppet

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contact the police asap they will take care of this issue by opening a scam-investigation in cyber-crime...

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Oh, no, you poor thing! Don't be so hard on yourself, I am sure that having to process so much "newness" in your life since moving was a major contributing factor to you being sucked in.

Lesson learned I suppose and very nice and brave of you to share in order to warn others. Thanks and all the best to you :D

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As Mo said, Lesson learned, Move on and don't let your experience put you off.

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Beware also of people answering ads on Anglo Info, agreeing to buy something. Then a cheque arrives for far too much and you are meant to pay it in and send the buyer back a cheque for the difference. I received a cheque for 3500 euros for a 350 euros oil painting. I didn't even bother paying it in. The problem is that the bank shows the large amount having been received, but they have the right to rescind after several weeks, after which time your "buyer" has received your good money refund. In my case the fake cheque came from Edinburgh. I have been told it's best to accept cash only on Anglo Info unless it's someone local you can trust. Why would someone in Edinburgh be buying stuff on Anglo Info anyway- or were they from Nigeria? With apologies to all honest Nigerians natch!

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Honest Nigerians? Are you sure?

They did call me a few times too from +22 numbers, I believe this could be a dialling code from West Africa somewhere ??? But don't know.

Once I'd recognised the scam I would plead total incomprehension and insist that they email. This has meant I have a record of every conversation and instruction given to me.

Yes it'll be Africa, the country depends on what the next number is (Cote d'Ivoire for example is 225). Not really a surprise!

Sorry to hear of your loss but it is good of you to put this out as a warning to others.

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Iknow a couple!

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I know loads. The majority are. Unfortunatley a small percentage spoil Nigeria's reputation.

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The scams come thick and fast if you advertise a gîte too, even if its done through the tourist information office. Fortunately as a retired IT teacher I was well up on this sort of thing so never got hooked.

Thank you very much

Sorry to hear about your predicament, Joyce. I'm currently trying to sell a top range pram on leboncoin and had the same offer. I am pleased to say I ignored it. But well done to Joyce for bringing this to the attention of a wider audience.

An artist friend of mine got an email from a man,also in Switzerland, wanting to buy quite a lot of his paintings,with payment by PayPal.He was over the moon,set up a PayPal account.Several of his friends said great,go for it.When he told me I googled the mans name and the scam came up immediatly,he hadn't even thought of checking out his name....he was very relieved.

Yes, there are scammers everywhere trying this sort of deal, as a rule i never buy anything from leboincoin that i cannot go and fetch myself. And pay cach. And good grief don't be so hard by criticising yourself like this - we've all made "silly" mistakes, or over-trusted people, and most probably will again ;-)

Oh truly sorry you went trough such a bad experience, I myself am trying to sell quite a lot of things on Le Boncoin, but no matter how much they try to tempt me to use PayPal, I keep refusing, and I have actually begun to think that =d they advertise PayPal or something, because I send them an email "Leboncoin is solely for a hand to hand selling/buying " and the whole send by post think makes it pointless !!! Prior to this I receive a message with A LONG list of INSTRUCTIONS on how to create my PayPal (and strangely they all seem to look the same, as if they are copied and pasted). Once a woman wrote me an email how she wants to buy all my items (in total 300 euro) but since she lives in England, she cant get them, and she wanted to surprise her niece in Cale France !!! I refused because honestly this sounds too good to be true. I have been refusing for a long time now, just being too precocious not to get into an arnaque trap. Despite all this, I have sold an item prior obtention of a cheque from a lady from another city and after I got the money, I sent her her item but it was a small object on a small price so no risk was taken.
Thank you so very much for sharing your experience ! Because today just before googling this matter (leboncoin safety to use PayPal) I was just on about to make the same mistake to let temptation lead me…
Better donate an item to the people in need, than this… And the french people are so demanding and trying to convince you that you end up believing them and being deluded by their hypocrisy (sometimes their culture and bad people put under question how I feel for them at all …)

PayPal is not too bad really and offers both buyer and seller a degree of protection in a commercial transaction. If paying always make sure PayPal knows that you are paying for goods though - do not send it as a “gift”.

I’m glad Joyce realised before parting with 2500€ worth of vouchers but it does illustrate that you need to be on your guard and particularly suspicious where a “cash equivalent” method of payment is requested.

There are some notes on how to avoid fake PayPal emails here http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-scammers-target-your-paypal-account-how-to-never-fall-for-it/