Finance PayPal Scams Scam

6 Common Paypal Scams and How to Avoid Them

paypal scams

In the event you’re a daily PayPal consumer, it’s your decision to take observe: Scammers are frequently concentrating on PayPal and its buyer base. PayPal scams can come within the type of emails, phishing websites, malicious advertisements, suspicious hyperlinks, and extra. Such scams are designed to look official so as to trick customers into giving up personal knowledge, corresponding to usernames and passwords, or to illegitimately gather funds.

Quite a few PayPal scams exist, however there are a number of that you simply’re extra doubtless to run into. Listed here are six widespread PayPal scams that we’ve situated, in addition to how to keep away from turning into a sufferer to them

1. Superior charge rip-off

One rip-off PayPal customers must be cautious of is extra generally referred to as Superior Charge Fraud. One of these fraud, of which the notorious “Nigerian Prince” or 419 scams fall into,  are designed to trick victims into sending a relatively small sum of money with the promise of a a lot bigger return.

PayPal customers are sometimes focused with this rip-off due to the problem that exists with getting cash returned.

Superior Charge scams over PayPal may fit like this:

You obtain an e mail with a topic line in ALL CAPS claiming you’ve acquired an inheritance.

paypal scams

Upon opening the e-mail, you discover what seems to be an official letter from somebody in a excessive political station.

paypal scams

Subsequent, they’ll inform you that you simply’re due a slightly insane sum of money for relatively doubtful causes.

paypal scams

And eventually, you’ll be requested to present some primary info that may open the strains of communication.

paypal scams

Finally, the rip-off collects private info from you that can be utilized in id fraud, whereas additionally grifting cash from victims. The warning indicators for this rip-off are clear, nevertheless, and avoiding one of these rip-off is comparatively straightforward.

How to keep away from advanced-fee scams

Fortunately, your e-mail service supplier filters out the overwhelming majority of a lot of these scams. Should you verify your e-mail spam folder, chances are you’ll even have the opportunity to discover a couple of of them (we positive did).

Nevertheless, if an e-mail asking you to make some sort of superior cost so as to obtain a larger reward does elude your spam filter, concentrate to the warning indicators. The e-mail handle probably gained’t be from a verified or professional enterprise or service, and doubtless gained’t match the identify, group, or authorities official talked about within the e-mail textual content. Moreover, there’ll possible be numerous spelling or grammar errors inside the physique of the e-mail, which is one other warning signal that it’s not from a reputable supply.

General, nevertheless, it’s greatest not to ship superior funds, particularly to people you’ve gotten by no means met or don’t know. Until you’re buying merchandise via a web-based buying market, donating to a trigger, or sending household or pals cash, don’t belief suspicious sources on-line requesting cash. If it appears too good to be true, it in all probability is.

2. Rip-off e-mail: “A problem with your account”

One PayPal rip-off comes within the type of an e-mail that erroneously states that there’s a “problem with your account”. The intent right here is to get you to open the e-mail out of concern. It’s adopted by textual content designed to get you to click on on a hyperlink inside the e-mail that finally leads to a phishing web site.

A customer just lately forwarded us a replica of the PayPal rip-off e-mail under. We have been in a position to monitor down the place the rip-off website was hosted and have it shut down inside about 5 minutes. We additionally situated the place the stolen info was being despatched from the website and notified PayPal to ensure they shut down that website and contacted any affected clients.

How to keep away from “problem with your account” scams

  • DO NOT reply to the e-mail or enter any private info. In the event you’ve already entered info, shortly go to our How to Report a Rip-off web page.
  • Ahead the e-mail to PayPal will instantly work to shut down the rip-off website.
  • Ahead the e-mail to The U.S. Federal Commerce Fee (FTC) will place your e-mail in a database and use the mixed info to monitor down and prosecute the scammer/spammers.
  • Don’t click on on hyperlinks in unsolicited emails.

This type of rip-off has been round for a very long time. The scammers ship an e mail to you telling you there’s an issue together with your PayPal account and that you simply want to log in to right it. Right here’s what the e-mail seems to be like.

When you look it over, go on to see what the pretend PayPal site seems like:

Essential Observe: Right here’s the place the scammers get tough. The hyperlink textual content says “”. It appears professional. It appears like you’ll be despatched to the safe PayPal website. However you gained’t.

Click on this hyperlink –

Oops! We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Essential level. The textual content of a hyperlink can say something. The place it factors to might be utterly totally different. Don’t pay any consideration to the hyperlink textual content. You’ve got to concentrate to the tackle bar in your browser (see our check on our Scams and Fraud homepage).

Right here is the textual content from the pretend Paypal web page:

Pricey Paypal Consumer,

At present we had some hassle with one in every of our pc methods. Whereas the difficulty seems to be minor, we aren’t taking any possibilities. We determined to take the troubled system offline and exchange it with a brand new system. Sadly this brought on us to lose some member knowledge. Please comply with the hyperlink under and log into your account to make sure that your info is just not affected. Account balances haven’t been affected.

Due to the inconvenience this causes we’re giving all customers that restore their lacking knowledge their subsequent two incoming transfers at no cost! You’ll pay no charges on your subsequent two incoming transfers*.

Thanks for utilizing PayPal!

* – If charges would usually apply, you’ll not pay something for the subsequent two incoming transfers you obtain.

PayPal Safety


NEVER give your password to anybody and ONLY log in at PayPal’s web site. If anybody asks in your password, please comply with the Safety Ideas directions on the PayPal web site.

As you possibly can see, this rip-off e-mail does all the things it could possibly do to persuade you that it’s authentic. Nevertheless, until the e-mail is coming immediately from PayPal, ignore it. And all the time examine the hyperlinks included in a rip-off e-mail to confirm that they’re the actual deal.

“Problem with your account” PayPal scams may be pretty refined as properly, as famous by this rip-off highlighted by web safety firm ESET.

three. “Friendly name” or show identify spoofing

One other type of e mail rip-off, “friendly name” e-mail scams make the most of a function of e-mail techniques that permit the sender identify to be hidden behind a “friendly name” that may be made to look official.

Many e-mail providers now use a “display name” for people, websites, or providers with which you often work together by way of e-mail. As an alternative of displaying the complete e-mail tackle each time, you could as an alternative see a “display name”, which is usually the identify of the person or service.

Scammers can use this technique to their benefit by creating an e mail tackle with a show identify which may exist in your tackle ebook. Once you get an e mail from the pretend account, not solely can it bypass spam filters, it might look utterly reliable when related to an equally reliable wanting e mail (resembling some “problem with your account” rip-off emails).

For instance, this e-mail spoofing the USPS makes use of show identify spoofing:
paypal scams

With PayPal spoofing, the rip-off might change the show identify to something which may seem to be professional, together with utilizing widespread phrases you may affiliate with a authentic enterprise, akin to “PayPal Customer Service”.

How to keep away from “friendly name” scams

A couple of easy steps may also help you shortly determine whether or not an e mail is definitely from PayPal or a scammer:

  • Open the suspected e-mail, however DON’T click on on any hyperlinks within the e-mail
  • Hover over the show identify within the e-mail if all the e-mail tackle isn’t seen

E-mail service suppliers range. In Gmail, for instance, merely opening the e-mail will reveal the whole handle typically, to embrace the show identify and the online handle. Your e-mail app may require you to hover over the show identify to reveal the handle, nevertheless. Due to measurement constraints, cellular e-mail apps typically disguise the e-mail handle totally and solely present the show identify, which may be very deceptive.

Make sure that the tackle utterly matches an actual net tackle for PayPal. Moreover, make it possible for the complete net tackle is reputable. Any e-mail coming from PayPal may have an e mail handle that ends in Any variation of that, similar to, is probably going a rip-off.

four. Phishing web sites or social media posts (pretend PayPal web site or social media scams)

Many common web sites get spoofed in numerous methods. When scammers create a pretend PayPal web site and attempt to gather consumer info via them, this is called phishing.

Phishing is a type of rip-off through which criminals impersonate trusted entities to trick victims into giving up info. They arrange fraudulent web sites and e mail addresses which might be designed to look reliable. The hope is that you simply’ll work together with the pretend product, and finally hand over personal info, together with usernames, passwords, monetary account info, or anything that can be utilized to steal cash or your id.

There are lots of phishing web sites on the market, and the truth is, in accordance to Google’s Transparency Report, phishing websites at the moment are a much more widespread sort of fraudulent exercise on the internet than malware websites. Actually, phishing websites outnumber malware websites eight to 1, which means you’re much more possible to encounter a phishing website designed to look actual and steal your info than you’re to run right into a website trying to set up malicious software program onto your pc.

Right here’s what a pretend PayPal web site might appear to be:

paypal scams

You’ll observe shortly that this rip-off website appears precisely like an previous model of PayPal’s web site. With out wanting on the particulars, it’s straightforward to get fooled into considering this website is actual. However there are a couple of methods to keep away from falling for phishing website traps like this one.

You’ll moreover want to be looking out for phishing scams within the type of promoted or shared social media posts. TNW reported on one such rip-off that Twitter allowed to propagate, the place the scammer purchased advert area and pretended to be an official (though unverified) Twitter worker providing customers an opportunity to win a Twitter-sponsored sweepstakes.

paypal scams

The rip-off pushed people to a phishing web site which was designed to seem like an actual twitter web page. The last word aim was to get customers to enter their username and password into the shape, which might not truly log into PayPal, however as an alternative gather personal info.

How to keep away from PayPal phishing website scams and social media posts

First, the simplest method to decide in case you’re on the right PayPal web site is to examine the online handle within the URL handle bar:

paypal scams

Observe that the online tackle reads “”. This isn’t an actual PayPal handle. The official PayPal handle is “”. Another model is probably going a rip-off. Moreover, PayPal doesn’t use distinctive region-based domains, similar to “” for the UK, or “” for Japan. All different variations will routinely reroute to URL that begins with “”.

Subsequent, verify the certification standing of the web site. Within the above instance, you’ll discover that there isn’t a lock image subsequent to the URL. This means that the web site doesn’t have an HTTPS (or SSL) certificates. At current, most authentic web sites and companies have SSL certificates and HTTPS encryption.

If the PayPal website you’re on doesn’t have a lock image, don’t belief it. It’s doubtless a phishing website. Whereas PayPal presently doesn’t have the simplest guard towards phishing websites, an Prolonged Validation certificates (which reveals the identify of the group alongside the lock image), you possibly can nonetheless examine the certification to confirm that it’s legitimately owned by

  • Click on on the lock image
  • Click on on Certificates
  • Click on on the Particulars tab
  • Underneath Area, click on on Topic

Verify the small print listed right here. You must see the next info, or one thing comparable:

paypal scams

If the knowledge seems vastly totally different, or there isn’t any info obtainable, you’re probably on a phishing website and ought to shut the tab instantly.

four. Pretend hyperlink rip-off

Pretend net tackle scams can seem as a part of different forms of scams, together with inside e-mail scams, and fairly clearly as part of a phishing web site. Nevertheless, it’s potential you might discover some web thieves will create pretend hyperlinks designed to seem reputable within the textual content, however the precise URL is pretend.

As mentioned earlier, a hyperlink textual content can say something we would like it to.

How to keep away from hyperlink scams

Hyperlink scams are comparatively straightforward to keep away from, and there’s one easy step: On a private pc or desktop, hover over a suspected hyperlink earlier than clicking on it. Doing so will convey up the precise hyperlink URL in your net browser window.

paypal scams

On a cellular system, lengthy press on the hyperlink to reveal the URL it’s truly sending you to.

If the hyperlink goes someplace aside from the said goal or is clearly not a hyperlink to PayPal, don’t click on on it.

5. Pretend charities and funding alternatives

Scammers have a tendency to concentrate on making an attempt to play to every victims’ feelings. In some instances, this could embrace emotions of pity or greed. Both may cause some victims to stroll proper into PayPal scams with out contemplating the results.

Pretend charities sometimes pop up following a tragedy, or as soon as scammers pay money for sufficient details about a sufferer to attempt to goal them with a pretend charity rip-off. In these conditions, the pretend charity might have an internet site, or just ship info over the online, and will ask for cost by way of PayPal or different means.

In the meantime, pretend funding alternatives comparable to 419 or Nigerian Prince-style scams attempt to persuade potential victims that a seemingly small funding can reap an enormous reward.

How to keep away from pretend charities and funding alternatives

Keep in mind the previous phrase, “too good to be true”? It will all the time apply to funding alternatives. Anybody promising a excessive reward for seemingly little funding ought to increase your alarms.

For those who obtain a suspicious-looking, “too good to be true” funding alternative asking you to ship PayPal cost, do the next:

  • Use the BBB (Higher Enterprise Bureau) to lookup the corporate. Dangerous scores, or a non-existent firm, are a pink flag.
  • When you can’t discover the existence of an organization by means of the BBB, do a primary Google seek for it by identify, and search for any boards or different places the place it’s talked about. A lack of understanding can also be a pink flag, and in fact, damaging info must be your signal that it’s not a reliable funding alternative

For charities, PayPal itself recommends utilizing one of many following web sites:

Observe that any charity that you would be able to’t confirm the existence of by means of any of those choices is probably going not an actual charity. Charities have to be registered with the federal government, so in the event you can’t discover details about it, it’s greatest to keep away from donating cash. Likelihood is, loads of official and trusted charities can be accumulating cash for a similar trigger.

6. Overpayment rip-off and hacked PayPal account rip-off)

This can be a rip-off that PayPal distributors ought to be involved about. The overpayment rip-off works like this:

  • You promote a services or products to a person or “business”
  • The customer sends cost however sends an excessive amount of
  • The customer then asks you to return the distinction to them, typically requesting that you simply return to the cash to a special account

This appears innocuous sufficient, nevertheless it’s doubtless that the customer is a rip-off artist trying to get you to pay them cash from a stolen cost account. It’s potential the customer was utilizing a stolen bank card or different financial institution info to make the phony buy and then asking you to return a part of that cash. On this case, not solely does the customer get a services or products obtained illegitimately, however he additionally will get a few of that cash again, deposited into a unique account that may probably be untraceable later.

Right here’s the most important drawback for sellers: If the actual account holder reviews fraudulent exercise, PayPal might cancel the cost you acquired and return the cash to the rightful proprietor. If that occurs, you’ll be out each the cash and the product you bought.

One other subset of that is the hacked account rip-off. On this state of affairs, the customer is paying with a PayPal account that has been hacked. The customer receives the merchandise, however you might be pressured to refund cost to the precise account holder. On this case, you’ll lose out on each the merchandise and the cash you paid.

How to keep away from overpayment scams

Reputable consumers not often overpay, so when you do obtain an overpayment, it’s doubtless a rip-off. If that occurs, as an alternative of returning the cash, cancel the order altogether and don’t ship the merchandise. Moreover, by no means return a cost to an account totally different from the one which initially made the cost.  

How to keep away from hacked account scams

It’s virtually unattainable to inform when a purchaser has hacked an account. There’s additionally little you are able to do to assist forestall this or keep away from this example. A mismatch in purchaser account info and the place merchandise are getting shipped is regular.

Your only option is to contact PayPal immediately. PayPal gives service provider fraud safety for all sellers who make the most of PayPal. Should you consider a mismatch in cost account info and the requested delivery handle appears suspicious, contact PayPal. The corporate will examine the difficulty, and contact the customer to confirm info. It’s additionally greatest to delay delivery any gadgets till the difficulty is resolved.

You might also need to contact the customer instantly by means of the e-mail tackle related to the PayPal account to assist confirm the account and purchaser match.

PayPal additionally gives recommendation and info on different varieties of scams and how to keep away from them, right here and right here.