Scams involving cameras are rampant these days. After almost losing a Nikon D850 to a scam on eBay, I recently also discovered a massive camera scam that involved 10 people. Here’s the story.
On 10/02/2017, a person named Megan A. listed a used camera for sale on a Facebook ‘Buy and Sell’ group. The camera, a Sony A5100 with a 16-50mm lens ($500 new), was described as being in pristine condition and barely used. Her ad was answered by a Facebook user named Kassidy Nadile. The potential buyer didn’t haggle on the asking price, and after some discussions via Facebook messenger, the camera was sold to Kassidy, and safely paid for through PayPal.
As Megan was getting ready to ship out the camera, the buyer asked if the camera could be shipped to an address other than the one on her PayPal profile.
“My PayPal address is my mom’s house when I used to live with her but I want to surprise her instead of the mailman lol,” Kassidy wrote in a Facebook message. But Megan, not aware that mailing the item to an address not on the buyer’s PayPal profile would disqualify her seller’s protection, agreed to ship it to the requested address.
“Please don’t forget. Make it look like it was bought from the store” the buyer, Kassidy, later wrote while requesting actual photos of the shipping label.
But following the successful shipment and delivery of the package, the first sign of trouble appeared. Megan was notified by PayPal that a case for an ‘item not received’ or what is known as an INR dispute was opened with PayPal. The buyer had filed a claim with PayPal stating that the parcel containing the camera was never received.
After an initial ruling on the case in favor of the buyer, and despite an appeal of the case by Megan, where evidence of the delivery was submitted to PayPal, the case was closed. On Oct. 21st, Megan was forced to refund the money to the buyer.
This was to be the end of Megan’s case. But was it?…
On the evening of Tuesday, 10/24/2017, I responded to an ad for a camera for sale in a Facebook group by the name of ‘Sony Buy and Sell’. The item was a used Sony A5100 with 16-50mm lens selling for just $200. My son had just dropped and broken his Canon point and shoot, and I figured this would be a nice upgrade. The ad was posted by a Facebook user named Kassidy Nadile. This was in fact, the same Kassidy Nadile who never received Megan’s camera.
The ad later disappeared, and I didn’t think of it much until the following morning when I received a reply from Kassidy via Facebook Messenger with photos of the camera. After reviewing the photos she sent – including one with the camera next to a poster with her name – I replied and asked for a PayPal invoice to be sent to my PayPal account.
Usually, I would do some research to make sure everything looks legit. But at the time, I was outdoors, on my phone, and at a quick glance, nothing really raised any suspicions. And after all, I was going to Pay with a PayPal invoice, so what could go wrong. She said the PayPal request would come from her mother’s account. Soon after I received a request from a PayPal Account under the name of Victoria Nadile, and the invoice was promptly paid.
I asked that the camera be mailed to my verified name and address on file with PayPal.
On the same day, the following USPS tracking number was added to the PayPal transaction.
Tracking #: 9505515854387298059275
The product was Priority Mail 1-day and shipped from Ridgefield, NJ on 10/25. The above tracking number showed as delivered on 10/26, but nothing was actually delivered to my address. On Saturday 10/28, for unknown reasons, a different tracking number was provided via Facebook messenger.
Tracking #: 9500114448427300060608
The product was First Class Package Service shipped from Scarsdale, NY on 10/27. This tracking number showed as delivered on Monday 10/30.
After both tracking numbers showed as delivered and I found that nothing actually had been delivered to my address, I contacted USPS to inquire where those packages were delivered. While USPS does not release shipping address information on their website or on the phone — other than the city, state and ZIP — They were able to confirm that it was not sent to my home address. (The verified address on file with PayPal).
At this point, I suspected that it was a scam. A scam that usually consists of mailing a letter or empty parcel to a random address in the same ZIP code, and using the fact that minimal address information is released by USPS to their advantage. I was aware of other cases where scammers utilize this USPS delivery confirmation as proof that an item was shipped and delivered. Including a case that was recently covered by PetaPixel.
I immediately posted on the Facebook group, asking if anyone had an issue with a member named Kassidy Nadile, who posted a Sony A5100 for sale the prior week.
Minutes later I received a response that the name Kassidy Nadile was mentioned in a warning post in a different group relating to a purchase from a group member. “Warning: Do not sell to Kassidy Nadile. She’s a scammer and dishonest person” Wrote Megan A. on Oct. 29. But unfortunately, her post came a bit too late for myself and other’s to heed the warning.
When I contacted Megan to get more info on her case, she was surprised to hear that the camera she had sold to Kassidy Nadile — which was reported as never received — had been offered for sale by Kassidy in a different Facebook group.
After forwarding the photos of the camera I received from Kassidy to Megan, she immediately confirmed it as being the exact camera she had sold.
“I recognize the lens filter and the little bag that it’s in because it’s from a flea market, Megan wrote to me in our Facebook correspondence. This is also when Megan shared with me all the details of her case (which I shared earlier in this article).
It didn’t take long for my Facebook post to get some more attention. I got a reply from someone who claimed that he was sold the same Sony A5100 camera by Kassidy Nadile. The case was identical to mine. He paid with PayPal, received two shipping tracking numbers and, like me, never got anything delivered.
Within the next few hours and the days that followed, six more people came forward with similar stories of being scammed by Kassidy. I advised them all to open an INR (item not received) dispute with PayPal immediately. In total, we now had 10 people who were scammed by the same person.
After collecting information from the other victims, I noticed that the scammer used a different PayPal account in each transaction. Every one of us paid for the camera to a different PayPal account. Presumably, so that multiple INR cases are not opened against the same account. They were all AOL email addresses, but most of them had slightly different email address variants of the name.
I was puzzled by the fact that one person can own at least 12 different PayPal accounts that I was were aware of, yet this was not detected and flagged by PayPal.
To my disappointment, a day after submitting my INR dispute I received an email from PayPal stating that they had ruled in favor of the seller: “We’ve completed our review and unfortunately are not able to decide the case in your favor”
But as my case closed, my inner sleuth kicked in. It was time to do some detective work. I began by contacting USPS to get documentation on the tracking numbers that were provided to me by Kassidy Nadile.
After not receiving an email reply, I visited my local post office in an attempt to get more information as to where those parcels were delivered in my ZIP code. The USPS clerk was extremely helpful and provided me with not only the actual delivery address but also the weight of the parcels. Both weighed a mere few ounces – not even close to the weight of the Sony camera it supposedly carried.
Leaving the U.S. Post Office with this new information, I took off in the direction of those two delivery addresses. The first stop turned out to be a CVS pharmacy. I was not surprised. As when I researched the USPS delivery confirmation scam, I did come across others who claimed that their packages were shipped to a local pharmacy or to some other large retailer in their ZIP code.
After briefly explaining to the store manager what had transpired within the past few days, he went to look for the mail and recovered the following envelope.
The tracking number matched the one that was provided to me. It was astonishing that this USPS letter-sized envelope, containing nothing but an empty gift card inside, is what was reported to PayPal as the parcel with which the camera was mailed to me.
I thanked the manager for his assistance and continued on to the second address that was provided to me by USPS. I arrived at what looked like an attached three-family dwelling.
While looking to ring Apt. #B to inquire about any parcel that was received in the past few days, I noticed a re-used Amazon box leaning against the brick wall. After matching the tracking number on the box with the one that was provided to me by the scammer via Facebook messenger, I picked up the box. It must have been sitting there for a few days, as it was not addressed to the name of any of the residents. The box was still closed, and I recovered it for evidence.
(Note: none of the boxes were addressed to me. A classic example of the ‘USPS shipping confirmation scam’.)
Now that I was armed with some newly-found evidence, I knew I had a case to open an appeal. But at this point, this was no longer about myself. We were now a larger group, all victims of a merciless scammer. I had to represent a case that would include all of us.
I began by compiling all the information I received from the other victims, including the individual case numbers and the PayPal accounts involved. After several hours writing up most of what you have read in this article, I submitted my case to PayPal and asked for my case to be escalated.
My case was finally overturned and ruled in my favor.
However, it took me a few more days to convince PayPal security to treat all of our cases as one and to use my hard evidence in the other cases involved – since all of our cases were intertwined.
Currently, most victims have gotten their funds returned, but some cases are still open. One of the open cases is Megan’s, which PayPal refuses to refund despite all the evidence we submitted, as she did not qualify for seller’s protection due to mailing the camera to an address not on the PayPal profile.
As much as I wanted this case to end, other victims of the same Facebook profile continued to come forward. I was recently made aware of a group of people who were scammed in a children’s toys Facebook group. The list included an army veteran who told me how she was scammed by Kassidy when she purchased a toy she was going to gift her child for Christmas.
Finally, on 11/05 I received a notification from Facebook that the Facebook profile for Kassidy Nadile has been removed for violating community standards.
While this Facebook profile may be gone, I have no doubt that as long as PayPal and USPS do not fix some of the issues enabling scammers to pull off an elaborate scam of this scale, this same scammer will be back with a new profile to continue scamming other people.
When I searched online for the term ‘USPS shipping confirmation scam’, I discovered that this scam has been going on for years, with companies like eBay, Amazon, and PayPal not doing enough to prevent its customers from being victimized by this scam.
There is a possible solution that I would like to suggest. eBay and PayPal are currently offering an integrated order-fulfillment system that lets sellers purchase a shipping label and provide tracking to the buyer. I propose that in order for a seller to qualify for seller’s protection, the shipping must be purchased via the integrated shipping system. For those using their own shipping system, a record of the shipping address or a photo of the shipping label must be retained by the seller to qualify for protection.
Logically, if the current policy voids the seller’s protection when an item is shipped to an address that is not PayPal verified, PayPal should require the seller to provide proof of the address where the item was shipped to.
The current system where PayPal burdens a buyer to provide hard evidence that an item was not received, combined with the fact that USPS does not share the actual shipping address in its tracking, is what enables the scammers to pull off this scam in the first place.
Finally, if Facebook wants to be a serious contender in the buying and selling of goods via its marketplace, a more secure system must be put in place to protect both buyers and sellers. Facebook needs to integrate a secure payment system like PayPal (or upgrade the security of its own payment system) and add an order-fulfillment and shipping option similar to what eBay and PayPal currently offer — albeit with more secure policies, similar to what I have mentioned above.
While searching on Facebook I came across this post, which we can assume was another attempt to scam people, or perhaps a way of unloading the funds that were scammed from others since a bank transfer or check would leave a trail.
This case is now being submitted to the USPS inspector’s office for further investigation into this widespread mail fraud.
About the author: Eli Wohl is a hobbyist photographer and real estate appraiser in New York City who often shoots street photography in the Jewish Hasidic neighborhood he resides in. He also combines his real estate career and love of photography by shooting architectural, real estate, and interiors for his clients. Eli’s tips have also led to a number of articles on PetaPixel. You can find more of his work on Instagram.