10 PayPal Scams to Watch Out For And How to Ignore Them
Scammers are chasing the money as the use of digital payment methods like PayPal increases. Here are some precautions you can take to avoid them.
Also Read: –Paypal Customer Care Phone Number & Corporate Office Information
PayPal, which has more than 400 million customers and is still growing, is a popular target for scammers. The fact that users don’t understand how these services work or use them carelessly makes them vulnerable to criminals looking to steal their money, financial information, and other personal information. This is the basis for many online scams involving payment apps, including the Cash App scam, Venmo scam, and Zelle scam.
But that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your PayPal account. By using PayPal wisely and being aware of the telltale symptoms of a scam, you can still benefit from all its benefits. We obtained the data from cybersecurity professionals on what PayPal frauds to look out for and how to avoid them in order to assist you in doing just that.
What is PayPal?
Traditional banking systems can be replaced by PayPal, an all-in-one digital payment platform. Users must first link their bank accounts or credit cards to the platform in order to create a PayPal account. Thereafter, customers can use their computer or mobile device to log in and make purchases from independent merchants, accept payments and deposits, or move money or cryptocurrencies across accounts.
Can you get scammed with PayPal?
Unfortunately, it is all too simple for con artists to use PayPal to steal your money or personal data. According to Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of Identity Theft Resource Centre, “there are many frauds and fraud efforts deployed by identity criminals seeking to steal your money, financial information, and more” via PayPal’s platform.
However, bear in mind that PayPal isn’t the only location where you could be defrauded. Alex Hamerstone, a director with the ethical hacking business TrustedSec, believes that it’s crucial to remember that you can be conned with any website or service. Amazon scams, Facebook Marketplace scams, phone scams, and gift card scams are some other popular scams to be on the lookout for.
What are some common PayPal scams?
While con artists can be cunning and persuasive, their scams also frequently share certain characteristics that make them simpler to spot. These are a few of the most common.
Fake fraud alert scam
The bulk of frauds involving PayPal employ phishing emails to pretend to be PayPal. How does this one work? A false or “spoofed” email address that looks to be from PayPal will be made by criminals. Then they will send you an email that appears to be a recent order confirmation. You will be requested to connect into your account using a link in the message in order to check the progress of your order.
These phishing emails can take many various forms, but according to Karim Hijazi, CEO of the cybersecurity firm Prevailion and a former contractor for the U.S. intelligence community, “what remains the same every time is what the criminal is ultimately after.” “They seek to fool you into logging into your account through a faked web page in order to obtain your PayPal login information.” Once the con artist has your login details, they can use them to access your account and perform a variety of things like withdraw money, make purchases, launch a doxxing assault, and more.
Unsolicited payment or transfer request scam
Be wary of unsolicited texts that purport to be PayPal alerts about fraud. These phoney fraud alerts, often known as “smishing” attacks, are challenging to identify because no two messages are the same. Others may alert you to questionable activities on your profile, while some may warn that someone is attempting to access your account. Scammers will employ a variety of false alarms, each of which will be unique, according to Hijazi.
Receiving a PayPal notification suddenly is an indication that you might be dealing with a fraud, even while PayPal does send texts or emails for one-time login tokens or two-factor verification. Even though the SMS appears to be from a valid PayPal phone number, clicking on the link in the message may actually direct you to a false PayPal login page that will steal your account information, including your password, when you attempt to enter it. Make cautious to delete any bogus SMS as soon as you receive them because clicking on the link could unintentionally download spyware that enables someone to spy on your iPhone.
Scam of a password reset request
Examine the statement carefully before agreeing to a PayPal transfer request or unexpected payment. Some con artists build profiles that mimic genuine persons or companies, even stealing their usernames and profile images.
If you decide to comply with the con artist’s request and pay them money, you should report the scam to PayPal. PayPal, however, is unable to ensure that you will get a refund. Because of this, advises Velasquez, you should never accept unsolicited payment or transfer requests on PayPal and should always initiate transactions.
Unexpectedly received a password reset notification from PayPal? Hamerstone advises against clicking any links in the text message or email. Instead, if your account has been compromised, check in directly through PayPal’s app or website using a browser. Then, promptly change your password.
Scammers frequently produce phoney password reset messages that impersonate PayPal. You run the risk of unintentionally giving criminals your login information by opening a link included in a text message or email or downloading malware. If a hacker manages to get into your smartphone, you can be protected by enhancing the security of your iPhone and checking these privacy settings.
Fake charity scam
Another typical PayPal scam asks consumers for payments to fictitious organisations. The scammer will make a fake charitable organisation website and contact victims to request PayPal money. In order to make it seem as though the transaction is legitimate, they might share forged confirmation emails or receipts; but, in reality, they have already made off with your money. Even though these bogus charity websites are becoming increasingly convincing, there are techniques to recognise them and avoid becoming a victim in the future.
Promotional offer scam
This scam utilises a faked email address or phone number to make their communication appear to be from PayPal, similar to false fraud alerts or order confirmation emails. Users are informed by the notice that their accounts have been credited with money after they met the requirements for a promotional offer. In the end, the con artist wants to get the consumer to click on an attachment that would infect their phone with malware or enter their PayPal login information on a bogus website.
Refund request scam
Being surprised by a PayPal transfer is not always a mistake. In fact, con artists frequently employ this ruse to con you into sending them money. The scammer may transfer several hundred dollars to your account using financial data acquired from a compromised PayPal account, then notify you through email that something went wrong. Can you return that? Your payment is sent to the criminal’s personal card, which they have added to the fictitious account, and the money is deducted from your account together with the stolen money.
It turns out that PayPal scams do not just target regular users; vendors and retailers are also a common target for fraudsters. A fraudster might, for instance, overpay for an item using a real credit card or bank account information and then ask the seller to refund the money to a different account from the one they used to make the original purchase. Following their successful recovery of the money, the con artist will get in touch with PayPal to cancel the initial transaction, depriving the seller of both their merchandise and the payment.
Shipping address scam
Always double check the shipping address before making an online purchase. Some con artists will make PayPal purchases while providing the vendor with an incorrect delivery address. The buyer will get in touch with the shipping firm to amend the address after the delivery service marks the shipment as being undeliverable and request a PayPal refund for the unfulfilled transaction. Retailers selling things online should be on the lookout for brushing frauds.
Hacked account scam
A hacker who discovers the login information and successfully logs into a PayPal account can then use that account to defraud further people. They might transfer money to your PayPal account to pay for a good or service, but once they get their hands on it, the money vanishes. PayPal most certainly took the money out after learning that the account had been hijacked.
How can I protect myself from PayPal scammed?
Let’s face it, cybercriminals won’t stop attempting to con you. However, there are precautions you can take to safeguard yourself from PayPal scams in the future. Experts advise using these strategies to foil con artists.
- Always start a PayPal transaction. If someone asks you for money, don’t give it to them until you’ve made sure they’re real.
- Never open any attachments or links, and never reply to any unexpected emails from PayPal. Instead, get in touch with PayPal directly to make sure the message is genuine.
- Check your communications from PayPal for generic greetings, typos, or poor grammar that could be signs of a scam.
- Use your email account’s “view source” or “open original” button to check whether a message is indeed from PayPal. The entire header and routing information for the email you received will be displayed. Look for the “return-path” line in the header, which indicates if the email you received was sent by PayPal or by a phoney email address. The address of a fraudulent sender may be garbled or wrong by one or two letters.
- Never use a link sent to you by email, text message, or any other method to access your PayPal account. Instead, use your online browser or app to log in directly.
- Contact PayPal directly by looking up its publicly available phone number rather than dialling the number supplied to you in a message from PayPal.
- Never call or send an email asking for your account information, including passwords, bank account information, or credit card information.
- Send a report to PayPal at [email protected] if you get an email or text message that appears to be fraudulent or suspicious.
- Keep a close eye on your PayPal account for any strange behaviour, and get in touch with PayPal if you see anything out of the ordinary.
- To stop hackers from accessing your PayPal account, create a strong, one-of-a-kind password and set two-factor verification.
- To stop spam emails and messages going forward, use spam filters.