Mac sales fraud despite PayPal and seller protection

Like I recently at Macworld I read, there was probably a case of particularly brazen fraud among their readership: A woman sold her Apple MacBook on eBay classifieds for almost 1.000 euros and also found a buyer from the region. This has the Apple mobile computer via Paypal paid and then picked up from the woman. He then withdrew the payment, which left the saleswoman with no computer and no money. That's why I've summarized a few tips for more security for everyone who also wants to sell something online.

When selling Mac via doorstep selling, i.e. handing over to the person collecting the items, you should not accept PayPal. You can find more tips for selling tech online in this guide.

When selling Mac via doorstep selling, i.e. handing over to the person collecting the items, you should not accept PayPal. You can find more tips for selling tech online in this guide.

Only take cash for door-to-door sales!

If you sell something via Ebay classifieds or similar platforms on which you can register as a user quickly and without hurdles, then be careful. Especially with high-priced products that someone wants to pick up from you, you should always only accept cash as a payment option - even with three or four-digit amounts.

Because with a direct debit or payment via PayPal, the customer can withdraw the money. With eWallet Paypal, it is sufficient to issue the payment as an external intervention and to claim that the account has been hacked. Much research as to whether the claim is correct is not carried out.

Shipping only as a package with a tracking number

But there are also some notes that you should pay attention to when shipping. For example, don't send the package until you've actually received the money. With DHL, Hermes, UPS and the like, always use the option of the tracking number for shipment tracking. Above all, never send high-priced products as an uninsured parcel, even if it is cheaper. You should ideally include the shipping costs for the package in the sales price or list them on the offer page.

Do not rely on buyer or seller protection

Platforms such as Ebay classifieds and, above all, payment services such as PayPal offer various protection mechanisms. However, there are several Clauses and Regulationswhich regulate the actual use of buyer and seller protection. In the case described, the seller can unfortunately not rely on PayPal because the corresponding protection does not apply to door-to-door sales.

For the protection of sellers, they must document the sale by means of proof of dispatch of the goods and present it accordingly. In addition, you have to pay attention to the payment method. In the present case, “Send money” was chosen, which was also incorrect. Here you should instruct the buyer about the correct payment method when selling with PayPal payment.

PayPal's buyer protection is a helpful thing under normal circumstances - but unfortunately it can also be exploited by fraudsters.

PayPal's buyer protection is a helpful thing under normal circumstances - but unfortunately it can also be exploited by fraudsters.

Shipping to the PayPal delivery address ONLY

A new trick is besides the "personal" pick-up, which is then undetectable, also the request to send the device to an address that is not mentioned in the PayPal payment. I heard that PayPal's buyer protection also applies here and that buyers can withdraw their money.

That means: the fraudster orders goods, pays with PayPal. A delivery address is then given in the PayPal confirmation email of the payment. Which should normally be delivered. The buyer then asks, under a pretext like "I'm not at home much, please send it to my work / acquaintance, etc!" That the package be sent to a different address. The buyer then complains to PayPal that the purchased goods did not arrive. The seller - i.e. you - will then pull out the receipt with the tracking number and prove that it has arrived. The crux of the matter is: Even if you have a tracking code, it doesn't help if you haven't sent it to the buyer's PayPal delivery address. Only then would PayPal decide in your favor.

Now some buyers seem to have played the game with the shipping address several times and one would think that it is obvious that this is a fraud. Unfortunately, PayPal does not intervene here. You would have to file a complaint yourself and prove that the buyer received the device. Many people shy away from this because of the additional costs and give up.

Can't I find my Mac?

In the Sir Apfelot newsreel of calendar week 9 2018 I told you about a case in which a sold Mac could still be blocked and located by the old owner after three years - you can read the story here. However, such cases should be the exception, as the seller should reset the Mac to factory settings and delete the link to his iCloud account.

Apple also refuses to block a fraudulently purchased Mac, even if you can prove the exact serial number with the former use by your own iCloud account. You still need to be connected to be locked and located by Apple Support; and the computer ergo stolen.

Maybe sell and buy at reBuy

Even if there is perhaps one or two less euros, you can use buying and selling platforms such as reBuy Rest assured that you are selling your Mac, iPhone, or other expensive technology safely. You come to the page on which you can sell your products used and have them assessed beforehand with this link.

There you select your device, model, equipment, condition, functionality and other information - and you will immediately receive a price. If you agree, then you send in the device and after it has been established that your information is correct, you will receive the money. In addition, you can buy devices at reBuy that have been refurbished and are guaranteed to work - so you don't buy the classifieds cat in a poke.

All tips and tricks at a glance

Here is a brief overview of all the hints and tips for the safe online sale of Apple devices such as the Mac, MacBook, iPhone, iPad and other expensive technology:

  • Read through the terms and conditions of the sales platform and payment service; Don't rely on keywords like "seller protection" without knowing the details
  • If the buyer pays via PayPal, then he will point out the correct payment method
  • If you pay by PayPal, you do not use door-to-door sales, but send a package with a tracking number
  • If you sell to self-collectors, then ask for cash - also and especially for large sums
  • In any case, make a note of the device or serial number of your device for later tracking
  • Do not rely on the Location service from Apple, as this only takes effect in the event of loss or theft
  • Even if the profit is lower, think about buying and selling options and use reBuy, for example

Do you have any tips, hints or your own story? How did you end up solving the problem? Feel free to leave a comment on the topic and share your knowledge!


Did you like the article and did the instructions on the blog help you? Then I would be happy if you the blog via a Steady Membership or at Patreon would support.

1 comment

  1. Thomas says:

    Learned again! I would comment here several times, but the comment function is too cumbersome!

Leave a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.