What To Do If Youre The Victim Of A Paypal Scam
First things first. If you think youve fallen victim to a PayPal scam, immediately change your PayPal password! If youre looking for ways to create strong, secure, unique passwords for PayPal and your other online accounts, consider using a third-party password manager or the feature built into your favorite browser.
Change your PayPal security questions at this time, too.
|Type of Fraud|
There Are Many Clever Fakes Out There And New Ones Are Being Created All The Time So Despite Your Best Efforts It Could Still Happen To You If You Think Youve Clicked On A Fake Email Text Or Website Or Provided Your Secure Information To The Wrong People Heres How To Protect Yourself:
1. Run an antivirus scan on your system to make sure you didnt pick up any malware.
2. Change all your passwords, PINs, and security questions immediately.
3. Report it to the police, PayPal, your bank, and credit card providers.
4. Keep an eye on your online account statements for unusual activity.
Your Account Has A Problem Scam
This fake PayPal email scam may play out in several scenarios. Its underlying characteristic is that you will receive a notification that there is a problem with your account, for instance:
- We have limited your account because of suspicious account activity
- We are moving to a new system and require customers to update their information
- There is an issue with a recent transaction.
There will be a link with a convincing CTA such as Secure Your Account.
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How To Spot And Avoid Paypal Scams
05 May 2021
PayPal scams are seemingly not disappearing anytime soon, and there are always fresh warnings about them as a new wave of scam emails are popping into peoples inboxes left, right and centre.
From emails saying theres strange activity on your account to needing to verify your password, we tell you how to spot a PayPal scam and what to do if youve been scammed.
How To Tell If An Email Really Came From Paypal
Straight from PayPal itself, heres how to identify a real PayPal email:
- An Email from PayPal will always come from paypal.com, as you can see in the example above, its easy to fake the friendly name, but the full address cant be spoofed. So regardless of what the friendly name may say, always check the address that the email was sent from. If it originates from any domain other than PayPal.com, its not authentic.
- An Email from PayPal will always address you by your first and last name, or your business name. Going back to the earlier example again, Greetings, Dear Client is definitely not something PayPal would say. In fact, Im pretty sure youd have to go back to Charles Dickens England to hear anyone say that in polite conversation.
That being said, PayPal will NEVER:
- Send an email asking you to confirm or supply sensitive information such as a password, banking information or debit/credit card data.
- Send an email containing any attachments.
- Send an email asking you to download or install software.
Heres a good rule of thumb, if youre unsure if an email is actually from PayPal, go to the PayPal website and log in. If PayPal really was trying to communicate with you, chances are youll see something when you log in. If not, just disregard.
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How To Report A Fake Paypal Email
PayPal have a dedicated email where you can forward on any fake emails and theyll investigate it .
If you have provided any personal info after receiving a scam email then log into PayPal and change your password and security questions immediately.
You can also report it to Action Fraud on or use their online reporting tool
Your email provider can help too. Most email providers have a report function where you can mark the email as junk then once in your junk folders you can mark it as a phishing scam, which will then report the sender.
For more details see our blog on How to report a scam or fraud
How To Stay Off The Hook
- Always be sure about what you are asked to do and why
- If you are asked to resolve something related to your account you should do it by navigating to the service via browser instead of through the link in the email
- If you are asked to provide information about your account or yourself, always check the URL in the browser and be certain you really are on the website you are supposed to be
- If you have any doubts, hit the Hoxhunt button and report it!
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What Happens After Clicking On Fake Paypal Emails
The most likely scenario is that youre redirected to a nearly identical PayPal site. It may have a form that asks for all your information.
The message may have a phone number. If you call it, you may end up speaking to a highly convincing scammer. Even if the scam doesnt go through, the fraudster may sell your information on the dark web.
Paypal Fake Email Scams
Scammers may send sellers forged emails that appear to be from PayPal, stating that the scammer paid money into the sellers account and that PayPal has placed a hold on the funds and will not release them until the seller sends a shipment tracking number.
Holding funds like this isn’t something PayPal actually does. The scammer is hoping that the seller will rush to ship the item and send over a tracking number in order to receive the money. Once the item has been shipped, its too latethe scammer will get an item that they never paid for, and the seller will eventually realize that PayPal was never holding money for them.
Some fraudsters may also attempt to make a convincing copy of a normal PayPal sale notification email.
Since many sellers take the customer information from these emails and ship the item out right away, a fake email could result in a real product shipment. Since this scam doesn’t go through PayPal’s systems at all, there’s nothing they can do to protect sellers from it.
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How To Avoid Hacked Account Scams
Its almost impossible to tell when a buyer has hacked an account. Theres also little you can do to help prevent this or avoid this situation. A mismatch in buyer account information and where products are getting shipped is normal.
Your best option is to contact PayPal directly. PayPal offers merchant fraud protection for all sellers who utilize PayPal. If you believe a mismatch in payment account information and the requested shipping address looks suspicious, contact PayPal. The company will investigate the issue, and contact the buyer to verify information. Its also best to delay shipping any items until the issue is resolved.
You may also want to contact the buyer directly through the email address associated with the PayPal account to help verify the account and buyer match.
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If you can see random letters and numbers in the senders address then this should start to ring alarm bells. Equally, emails saying: theres been suspicious activity on your account or you sent a payment to XXX, if you didnt make this payment click here are there to cause panic.
Fraudsters prey on customers acting in panic. The fear that someone has hacked your account based on what the email is saying will cause people to click that fake link without thinking.
You can also see where the link will take you if you hover over it, just dont click it by accident!
Find our more in our guide A beginners guide to scams
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How To Recognise A Genuine Email From Paypal To Avoid A Scam
Remember that a scam kicks off the moment you engage with the scammer’s message. The best line of defence is simply ignoring a PayPal scam email. How do you tell which messages are genuine?
- Hover over the URL to check the link and confirm the address. It should start with followed by paypal.com
- Check for a heightened sense of urgency Act Now!
- Check for typos or poor grammar
- PayPal never asks for a credit card, bank account, drivers license, or National Insurance Numbers in emails
- Never click on any attachment.
As a policy, you can adopt the approach of never clicking on any link in a PayPal email. Instead, make it a habit of visiting the main website directly and checking for new notifications.
Flag It As A Phishing Email With Your Mail Provider
Web-based email providers, including Gmail, ProtonMail, and Outlook provide integrated tools for detecting and reporting phishing emails. To report a suspicious message in Gmail, open the email, click on the three-dots icon at the top right, select Report phishing, then click Report Phishing Message in the box that appears. The process is similar in other webmail services.If you have an IMAP/POP3 account, for example from your ISP, theyll probably have a dedicated phishing reporting address that you can find in their documentation. For example, BTs security help pages request you to forward phishing emails to them at once again, the company says it will act on all emails, but will probably not reply.
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The Promotional Offer Scam
You receive an email offering a cash rebate or some other financial incentive, and all you have to do is log in to your PayPal account to verify a few details. Just like other email scams, the link in the email directs you to a fake PayPal website.
If you click on the link and enter your login credentials, the scammers get access to your credentials and can drain your account.
What To Do If You Get Scammed On Paypal
Never trust the information that comes through in an email. Always log into your eBay or PayPal account and verify payments and fees before you ship anything.
Be on the lookout for spoofed emails and examine the senders email address to find out where it really came from.
Report these and other scams to PayPal so they can investigate and catch these criminals.
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Notify The Organisation Being Impersonated
Many companies invite users to contact them if anyone is attempting to impersonate them for fraudulent reasons, such as phishing emails. While this feature lacks the scope to include a comprehensive list, see the FAQ below for a selection of useful company fraud reporting contact details.
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Paypal Shipping Address Scams
After a purchase is made and the payment has been placed in the sellers PayPal account, the scammer asks the seller to ship their purchased item to an invalid delivery address.
After several failed delivery attempts, the shipping company flags the item as undeliverable in their system. The scammer then contacts the shipping company and gives them a new, valid shipping address.
When the scammer gets their shipment, they file a complaint with PayPal claiming that the item was never delivered. The seller has no proof of delivery, because their transaction detail shows only the original, invalid address.
PayPals Seller Protection doesnt cover shipments made to addresses that arent on file, so the seller loses both the item they shipped and the payment funds.
To avoid these schemes, check that the shipping address is valid before sending the item, and talk to your shipping company about making sure customers can’t reroute purchases.
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How Do I Know If The Paypal Email Is Genuine
PayPal themselves say that if theres a problem with your account then they would let you know via the website/app in the message centre. A genuine email from PayPal would also address you by name and not start with Dear Customer.
Logging into your account direct and not clicking on any link in the email is the safest way to check what is going on . Dont reply or open any attachments, and if in doubt contact PayPal to be 100% sure.
How To Report Paypal Phishing Emails On Your Own
You can always choose to report spam emails on your own. If you spot anything that looks out of the ordinary, you can report it to PayPal. Heres how you can do it:
After youre done with these three steps, PayPal will look into it, and you will be notified whether the email is fraudulent or not. Make sure you do not click any links from the suspicious email or download any attachments from it while youre waiting for PayPal to respond.
How To Avoid A Paypal Scam On Email Phone And Text
Scammers rely on striking an engagement and building trust with the target to pull off their scams. If you immediately become suspicious, the scam may fail. Thats why fraudsters rely on powerful emotional triggers such as the fear of losing money. You will notice this recurring theme in many PayPal email scams.
How To Avoid Paypal Scams
There may be a lot of PayPal scams out there, but you only need to follow a few rules to defeat the grifters.
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