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How to Spot and Avoid PayPal Account Scams

PayPal Account Scams

PayPal has revolutionized how we do business. It has made worldwide payments quick and efficient. Unfortunately, it has also allowed the rise of PayPal account scams. Scam artists have taken full advantage of the benefits of PayPal’s efficiency and ease of use. They have come up with a few novel approaches to stealing your money. This means that you need to be incredibly vigilant with your internet habits, especially when you are using PayPal for business, performing a large amount of transactions per month. Here are a few common scams which you should be on the lookout for:

Faked Email Address

The most common method of scamming is by scammers using the friendly address feature which most email programs have nowadays. They will use a fake email address which doesn’t look official at all, but then you will only see the friendly name, normally spoofed to look like an official account such as ‘PayPal Services’. This can catch the lazy, but if you are awake then it is quite easy to check. Most programs will show the true email address if you hover over or click on the friendly name. This is the actual address which sent the email. If it doesn’t look like an official address, delete the email immediately and report the email address to PayPal so that the email address can be investigated.

Be aware though that some scammers might even be able to spoof the actual email address to look official. Therefore never click on any links in these emails or give any personal information. PayPal will never ask for a password, other than on their login page. This means that if an email says otherwise you know for sure that it is a fake.

Prize Winnings

Another common PayPal account scam is the “You have won millions, just pay a bit to unlock it” scam. It has many variations, but the basic principal is that you are promised a large amount of cash, but there is a little hiccup such as tax or some fee which needs to be paid before the money can be released. This type of scam can be traced back to the Nigerian Prince scam, and the same response applies to both. If something sounds too good to be true, then it most definitely is. This may seem obvious, but thousands of people fall for it each year.

Use Our Shippers

If you are selling a product such as a tool or merchandise, then you will regularly need to ship your product. A common scam involves a ‘customer’ convincing you to use their preferred shipper because they get a discount or something similar. The problem is that if you don’t use a trusted shipper and the customer has access to them. The customer can reroute the parcel while it’s in transit and then claim that they never received it. This will force you to refund them and they get to keep the product. Never use a shipper that is recommended by the customer. Always use your own. Also, if the customer does ask you to use their shipper, they may possibly be using a stolen credit card. Investigate these customers to check for fraud. Maybe even report them.

Finally, a common credit card scam technique. This again applies to any online store. The ‘customer’ will by ‘mistake’ overpay for a product and then ask you to refund them either by paying it into a different account or by sending them the cash with the product. This technique is used to steal money from stolen credit cards. Eventually the credit card company will ask you for the money back and now you are out of pocket and your merchandise has been stolen. To prevent this, never refund someone who overpays, rather report it to PayPal or the customer’s bank as a false transaction and let them figure it out.