Yes, that title is correct. $1,200 in Bitcoin was scammed off of me. This happened about 5 months ago, but I still see it happening to people I know. I decided to make this post so that all of you don't make the same mistake I did. Looking back on it, what I did was stupid and I should've realized it was a scam, but a very valuable lesson was learned.
If you don't know what Paxful is, it is a website where you can buy or sell bitcoins with giftcards or money. But it doesn't work like how Coinbase works; Paxful works by trading with real people. For example, if I want to sell my iTunes gift card for bitcoin, I am giving my gift card to another user on Paxful, and I am receiving his or her bitcoin.
Now I want you to know that this isn't Paxful's fault, but rather the people who use Paxful's fault. This is why I gave this blog post the title "BEWARE OF PAXFUL!" rather than "NEVER USE PAXFUL!!"
Basically, on Paxful there are always offers that look beautiful. Look at this one for example:
This guy is willing to pay you over 6x the price of bitcoin. When I found this website, I immediately thought: "I can make so much money! All I have to do is buy bitcoin, sell it to this guy, reinvest the money in Bitcoin, and then sell it to him again! I'll be rich!"
So that's exactly what I did. I had $1,200 that I thought I would use to test it out. I bought $1,200 in BTC and then I sent it over to Paxful. Then, I looked for good offers. I didn't sell my bitcoin to anyone using Paypal because I knew that they would rip me off (bitcoin sellers are not protected by Paypal if you get scammed).
So finally, I found out that you can sell bitcoins on Paxful for Onevanilla Visa gift cards. "There's no way to scam these!" I thought to myself, "They are Visa gift cards, they definitely can't be scammed."
I found an offer from this guy with the username "onevanillamaster." He had over 250 positive reviews and not a single negative review. He was willing to pay 1.5x the price of BTC. "Perfect," I thought to myself.
I sold my $1,200 in BTC to him. What I did with these gift cards is send the funds directly to my Paypal. After about a week or so of trading with him (he had a limited number of gift cards that he could sell to me per day), there was $1,800 sitting in my Paypal. I had made $600. I was so happy.
After this, I became skeptical. I thought to myself: "This is too good to be true. Why would he pay me 1.5 times the price of Bitcoin?? It makes no sense! Why doesn't he just go buy bitcoins on Coinbase with his gift cards for the regular price?" (Remember, these gift cards can be used to buy anything online, so I was wondering why he wouldn't just use Coinbase).
It was time to investigate. I went to his account page and noticed that there was now one negative review. This review said: "Sold me a stolen card."
My heart sunk. "Oh my God," I thought to myself, "all of the money in my Paypal is stolen." I knew it was my duty to give the money back to the people it belonged to, but how was I supposed to find out who onevanillamaster even stole from?
I sent onevanillamaster a chat just to see if, maybe, the guy who left the review was lying. Here is the picture of the chat we had:
His account said that he was from America, but the fact that his English was so bad made me realize that he was a scammer. Often, when you confront scammers, they pretend to be emotional and deny your accusations. "How could say bro these thing" was his attempt to be emotional and to deny the fact that he had sold me stolen gift cards.
The very next day, I checked my email and I had received about five or six emails from Paypal that said: "A payment has been reversed." There was now $0 in my Paypal. I called Paypal, but, of course, there was nothing they could do because Bitcoin sellers are not protected by Paypal. I was wrong when I thought that gift cards couldn't be scammed. They totally can be.
I was so angry and depressed, but a valuable lesson was learned: If something is too good to be true, IT IS! Soon after the incident, I went over to his page to leave a nasty review, but I noticed that he had been banned, so there was no use. For proof, you can check out his banned profile here: https://paxful.com/user/onevanillamaster
So yeah, I would say that Paxful is great if you want to get rid of a gift card that you will never use for bitcoin. However, if you want to use Paxful to sell Bitcoin, be very cautious and always remember that if something is too good to be true, it is.