Don’t get scammed on eBay and PayPal (like I did)

First of all, let me say that I’m apparently not too bright. I recently sold something quite expensive on eBay and was to be paid via PayPal. A first time eBay seller, I got scammed, but good. Learn from my mistakes. 

After finding a buyer for the item and logging into my PayPal account, I saw a “pending payment” for the accurate selling price. The online instructions said to send the tracking number once I shipped the item to facilitate the payment. I did and got this email:

“The PayPal payment for eBay Item no 233056672838 has been verified and "APPROVED" But due to security reasons on both sides of the buyer and the seller the status of the payment is pending. Most sellers do not ship out the exact items as they have listed on eBay and we are keen on securing the eBay community. You will be required to post out the item and email us its shipment reference number. We will then verify the status and contents of the shipment within 24 hours with the courier service its been shipped through. Once we have completed verification, your account will be credited instantly.”

eBay scam.jpg

Two days later, I received this PayPal notification: “This is to inform you that we are processing the payment, Also we are so sorry for the late response regarding crediting of your account, We will like you to give us Two (2) more days. We are assuring you that your account will be credited.” 

Two days after that, I got the same message.

I never got paid. I phoned PayPal twice — and getting in touch with a real human at either PayPal or eBay is a migraine-inducing experience — and was told that there was nothing that could be done. I was informed that a “pending payment” is just a promise to pay and that doesn’t mean there’s any actual money set up for a payment. 

Say what????

Okay, so I’m pretty ignorant, but I did investigate the “PayPal Protection Program,” which is designed “to protect both buyers and sellers.” In PayPal’s words, “we process 25 currencies in over 200 markets to make sending, spending, and selling simple and secure.”

Yeah, right. 

Perhaps you, dear reader, use eBay and PayPal and have great results. Good for you, but I don’t plan on using either service again. Instead, I’ll use Craigslist and Apple Pay.

And if you do use those services, NEVER EVER send something to a buyer on a pending payment promise. If the buyer can’t offer a direct PayPal payment, move on.

Believe me, I wish I had. If so, my 2019 would be off to a much happier start.

Of course, I partially deserve what happened to me. I’m a tech journalist, so I should be smarter about these things. Meanwhile, eBay users, don’t conduct business with Terry Frazier (tgfraz9 on eBay, and email at