I sold my Canon 10D camera at auction on Ebay and thought nothing when I received a question from one of my potential buyers. The nice girl, named Brenda Zimmerman, who I assumed to be a nice Jewish girl, gave me a story that she was on vacation in Indonesia and needed the camera shipped there instead of her home in New York if she won the auction. Fine.

The nice girl wins the auction and I don’t hear from her for a few days. All of the sudden I see that I receive payment for the camera plus shipping from a Thomas Weir. Again, I think nothing of it because the same girl explains in an email that her boyfriend paid for the camera and gives me an address of where they are both staying at in Indonesia. Oh, okay, no problem.

Had I been home, I would have printed the shipping label, slapped it on the package, and headed off to the post office to ship the camera via Global Express Mail. Unfortunately, I was at the office and could not readily ship the package. I thought I would just print the label when I got home, slap it on the package, and get to the post office the next morning. All good right?

Wrong. A few hours after I receive the payment, I get an email from Paypal letting me know that they are freezing the funds from the payment in my account pending an investigation. Paypal also demanded details from the transaction to assist them. Apparently, both the Ebay and the Paypal accounts were stolen and the whole transaction was a ruse to part me from my camera and leave me holding the bag of stolen money!

Motherfuckers! The nice girl that was buying my camera with her boyfriend while on vacation is probably some Indonesian mafia guy sitting in an Internet cafe just chillin’ and typin’ away at idiots like me who believe his intricate stories as to why the transaction looks a little weird. I can’t believe that I almost fell for some International Ebay scam, what a lamer! Thank God for the Paypal security algorithms or whatever else alerted them to the scam.

No wonder why Ebay and Paypal warn sellers not to ship to unconfirmed addresses. Apparently a shipment to any other address other than the confirmed one does not protect the seller from losing all of the money from the transaction. That’s right. You could end up without the goods *and* without the cash just like that. Luckily, since I had not shipped the item, I was able to simply walk away from the transaction and offer the item to the next highest bidder. Phew.

So this is a warning to all Ebay sellers. Do not, under any circumstances, ship to unconfirmed addresses or you could be left holding the bag.


  1. Whoa! Close one! I’m amazed that, amidst the phishing messages, you actually detected a _real_ message from eBay protecting your account!

    #1 by Larry — October 11, 2006 @ 11:28 am

  2. Dude. What a close call! Those bastards.

    #2 by Meerenai — October 11, 2006 @ 6:04 pm

  3. Never, ever, EVER ship an item to any other address other than the original address. It will most definitely be a scam. This buyer, “Brenda Zimmerman” (most likely an alias) has multple screen names and it’s a good thing that PayPal noticed suspicious activities before it got out of hand. He could have lost his entire bank account because of this crook!

    #3 by Alan — October 12, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

  4. Incredible! After the Paypal transaction was reversed, “Brenda” submitted a payment for my camera again earlier today using an account from the UK for a guy named Jon Donaldson. Knowing now that it’s a scam, I refunded the payment in full. Still, the balls on “Brenda” are huge.

    This poor guy Jon Donaldson probably has no idea that his account is being plundered by “Brenda” as we speak! All of these Paypal accounts must have had their passwords lifted by a trojan or through phishing. Sad.

    #4 by Nugget — October 12, 2006 @ 3:04 pm

  5. Do you know that you’re really getting money from “Jon Donaldson” and “Thomas Weir”? By which I mean, are these Indonesian people using stolen CCs? Or is the “payment” some kind of fraud, too?

    #5 by Larry O’Brien — October 12, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

  6. I guess that’s possible, but Thomas Weir emailed me and said that the fraudsters had put his Paypal account into a “negative $3,000 balance,” something I didn’t even know was possible. So in the case of Thomas Weir it was a stolen Paypal account. I would suspect that the Jon Donaldson payment is from yet another stolen Paypal account that these Indonesian bitches are plundering.

    I guess in today’s criminal world it’s cooler to have a Paypal account than a credit card for the reason that single credit card transactions are scrutinized by credit card fraud algorithms. Whereas credit card transactions through a credit card funded Paypal account are not. Your credit card company (or bank) assumes that Paypal transactions have been properly authenticated and doesn’t do their own sanity check.

    That is why I think a stolen Paypal account is even scarier than just a lost or stolen credit card. You are relying on Paypal, a relative newcomer in the world of finance versus Citibank, Wells, or Bank of America, to spot any potential fraud. Thomas Weir found out about the fraud because he was monitoring his email, noticed the charges, and notified Paypal. Paypal did not find the fraud on their own.

    #6 by Nugget — October 12, 2006 @ 4:22 pm

  7. Guess what?! I am Thomas, the guy who lost $3,000 in two minutes. (I was sent this forum from Nugget after I e-mailed him alerting him of the fraud.) The think that irks me the most about this whole situation is the activity that PayPal has done, not rather this brenda_zimmerm4n fraudster).

    Heres what happened: Paypal sent me an e-mail telling me my account was placed on limited access because it “may have been accessed by a third-party” (This is after a total of 4 approx $700 transactions were made.) I then contacted PayPal to confirm that they were, in fact, fraudulent transactions.

    I immediately called my bank to make a stop payment on the transfer becuase it hadn’t actualy gone through the bank yet even though according to paypal it had. Well heres the real kicker: two days later after my account is “frozen” PAYPAL attempts to transfer another $643.71 from my account. Doesn’t that seem odd to anyone here? Luckily the bank stoped it.

    I also had to cancel my credit card. What’s even more worse is that after PayPal notified Nugget of the fradulent transfer, they still allowed this brenda_zimmerm4n to send more fradulet funds to him.


    #7 by Thomas Weir — October 13, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

  8. That is crazy. That’s why I dont use the ebay any more

    #8 by CompGui — October 15, 2006 @ 11:06 am

  9. I agree with your assessment of paypal. They could easily put a stop to these scams, but it’s more profitable to just collect the fee – and isn’t paypal owned by ebay?

    #9 by Aha — May 19, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  10. west-coasters may want to watch out for eBay seller bbceocmy1. Dishonest reports to eBay to avoid paying,

    #10 by john — March 13, 2013 @ 5:49 pm

  11. WATCH OUT FOR EBAY BUYER bbceocmy1
    Made dishonest report to eBay and refused to pay in full on item won at auction.

    #11 by john — March 13, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

  12. EbAYER bbceocmy1 makes dishonest report to ebay to avoid making full payment.

    #12 by john — March 13, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

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