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10 PayPal Scams to Watch Out For


By: Myra Nizami of Small Business Trends

10 PayPal Scams to Watch Out For

Paypal is one of the leading payment providers and a valuable tool for accepting and receiving money. As a tool, Paypal is incredibly versatile and can be used for both personal and professional reasons.

However, the popularity of Paypal also means that scammers tend to use it as an opportunity. To keep your Paypal account safe, we’re covering some of the more notorious Paypal scams you should be keeping on the lookout for.

Can You Get Scammed Through PayPal?

Online scams have been rising, and Paypal is not immune to them. Any PayPal user with an account is at risk of being scammed, just like on any other payment platform. Overall, it’s safe to use the Paypal platform, but being aware of scams helps you use the Paypal site with less fear since it offers many benefits.

Be Aware of These Most Common PayPal Scams

There are a few different kinds of scams to be aware of when it comes to Paypal scams. Common scams include fake charities asking for donations, phishing via emails or texts, and counterfeit messages regarding a hacked Paypal account.

1. PayPal Phishing Scams

A phishing scam is where a fake Paypal website is designed to trick users into entering their personal, sensitive information such as their username and password. Before entering any login details, always check the browser address to ensure it’s the Paypal website.

2. PayPal Email Scams

Scammers will often send Paypal scam emails where it looks like the email came from the company but leads you to a fake website to enter your credentials. Always check the sender’s email address and check if it’s an actual email address from the company when you get an email from PayPal, especially if it’s redirecting you to a fake site.

3. PayPal Text Scam

Similar to the PayPal email scam, the other method scammers use to get your login information is through a fake text from Paypal. It’ll often be cryptic about a pending Paypal payment or an issue needing you to log in immediately. It’s best not to click on any links in the text, and always check whether you’re being redirected to a scam website.

4. Nova Armory PayPal Scam

The Nova Armory PayPal scam is a little more elaborate than the phishing email scam. It consists of getting a fake email invoice from a fake account, Nova Armory, claiming that a payment has been sent to the Paypal user’s account. It then directs the person to call a fake Paypal telephone number where they can collect your information.

5. PayPal Invoice Scams

A recent scam is where users receive a fake invoice or a ‘money waiting’ notification from a real Paypal account and ask them to call a fake number to dispute the charge. It usually comes from a real Paypal account instead of a fake PayPal email, which is why it’s easy to believe. Before you send money, double-check whether it’s a valid invoice or user, and contact Paypal if you’re unsure.

More PayPal Scams to Watch Out For

Other scams targeting Paypal users may come in different forms, such as unauthorized payments using a stolen credit card, or using hacked accounts to gain access to funds where you should be cautious online.

6. PayPal Bitcoin Scam Email

The Bitcoin scam email contains a fake invoice, complete with details of some fake transaction. The email includes a link to click or an attachment to download that will likely lead to a computer virus.

7. eBay PayPal Scams

The eBay/Paypal scam is when legitimate buyers buy an item off eBay using Paypal, then state the item wasn’t received or was damaged, to get a refund via buyer protection without returning the item. This can be frustrating for sellers as they will lose both the item and the payment funds received. However, the seller protection program can help if sellers provide a shipment tracking number and other details using Paypal’s resolution center.

8. PayPal Fee Scams

With this scam, users are notified that they have won some prize or competition via Paypal and will need to pay a small fee to receive their award. This kind of advance fee fraud is one of the more common scams and will likely come via email links from a Paypal scam email.

9. PayPal Overpayment Scams

This scam is more likely to happen with direct payments via Paypal. Scammers will make a payment to sellers that exceeds the cost of the item purchased. The seller is asked to pay back the overpayment. Once the seller pays them back, the overpayment scam kicks in, and the buyer will claim that the account was compromised and this original payment was an unauthorized payment. Paypal reimburses the original scammer, and sellers lose out.

10. Hacked Account Scam on PayPal

Scammers increasingly use a hacked account to make purchases using the debit card or credit card on file. The transaction details will seem legitimate, of course, but the compromised account may end up being shut down, so sellers may have to deal with the aftermath of these transactions.

How to Avoid a PayPal Scam

There are many ways to avoid PayPal scams, such as:

  1. Use the seller protection tools: Paypal seller protection has many tools to help ensure that your money is safe. Paypal’s seller protection program includes tracking shipping details, transactions, and a dedicated resolution center.
  2. Look out for fake emails: Paypal scam email formats tend to have similar content. If you’re unsure whether the email’s coming from the company, check against other emails you’ve received or get in touch with Paypal to confirm.
  3. Avoid requests to receive or send money from accounts you don’t know: If you’re unsure about the origin of an email or invoice, or it looks like an invalid address – don’t click it!
  4. Never disclose private information: Unless you’ve contacted Paypal directly using contact information from their website, never give up personal information such as payment methods, bank account details, or any other information that has been requested.
  5. If it’s too good to be true, it is: Scammers are preying on people by creating offers and emails that are hard to resist. So if something looks like a fantastic offer, do some digging before giving up any information. If in doubt, contact Paypal directly to check.

How Do You Know If You’ve Been Scammed on Your PayPal Account?

Some phrases and words are commonly used in scams to look out for. For example, watch out for terms such as ‘Hello PayPal user’ or ‘Dear PayPal user.’ Also, emails and texts that say phrases like ‘You’ve been paid’ or some account error or issue must be resolved ASAP.

Will PayPal Refund Money If Scammed?

In most cases, PayPal will not refund your money if you have been scammed. They may refund you if an item you bought never arrived and report it as potential fraud against the seller and they are unresponsive. However, in other instances, Paypal will not refund money lost in scams.