PayPal is a popular scam target. These scams can befall all types of PayPal users, including those making purchases and receiving personal payments from friends or family. If you’re self-employed, it’s likely that your business will use PayPal as well, which means you’ll also need to be on the lookout for fraudulent activity. This article will discover three common scams that everyday PayPal users must keep an eye out for.
PayPal scams often come in the form of emails that falsely report “problems with your account.” It’ll then prompt you to click on a link within the email and it will take you to another website where they can steal your information. Recently, a visitor forwarded an example of one such scam to a tech website that was able to track down where the site was hosting their phishing and it got shut down within just 5 minutes.
In the fake email, scammers may send you a link that looks like this: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr/?cmd=_login-run
Now, of course, it looks pretty legit, right? That’s how they are able to trick users so easily.
Avoidance Rule: Do not respond to any emails that claim you have to enter any personal information. If you come across an email like that, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org so they can solve the issue. Be sure to avoid clicking on any links that look suspicious and out of the ordinary from PayPal’s actual site. Do a side-by-side comparison of links and sites if you have to – better to be safe than sorry.
Scammers typically focus on trying to play with the emotions of their victims. Emotions like pity or greed can lead people into getting sketchy situations, which is why it’s important to consider the consequences before you agree. Fake charities occasionally pop up following accidents or tragedies, and in these situations, they usually have a website where they’re asking for payment through PayPal or other means that may be more discreet than accepting donations at home.
Avoidance Rule: When something is “too good to be true”, it will always be a sign of a scam. People who promise high rewards for low investments should raise your radar. If you get any odd-looking, “too good to be true” opportunities that ask you to send payments through PayPal, look up the company through the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and search for any reviews, good or bad.
If you are unsure of the reality of a charity, make sure to do some research before donating money. The best way to independently verify it is by looking for government registrations or information on other charities that they’ve partnered with in order to help them raise funds.
Overpayment and Hacked PayPal Accounts
It’s likely that the buyer is a scam artist if you’re being asked to pay them money from a stolen bank account. The buyer might use a stolen credit card or other financial information to make a phony purchase and then ask you to return some of that money back. This person not only gets something by illegitimate means but also gets some of your money returned into an account later on which will be difficult for authorities to trace.
PayPal will cancel the payment you received if they find out that the money has been stolen. If this happens, your customer will get their item back and you’ll be left with nothing. Another type of problem is having a buyer who pays for an item but then reports it as fraudulent when it arrives, which means PayPal returns the money to them at your expense.
Avoidance Rules: Buyers who are legitimate rarely overpay, so if you do receive an overpayment, it’s likely a scam. If that happens, instead of returning the money, just cancel the transaction and do not ship anything to them. Also, never return payments from one account to another different account.
It can be difficult to tell if a buyer has hacked an account. There is also little you can do to help prevent or avoid this situation, but it does happen in some cases. When there’s a mismatch of payment, account information, and the address for where you are shipping your product, be sure to check it out further. Your best option is to contact PayPal directly because they offer merchant fraud protection for sellers who use PayPal when taking orders online.