7 Common PayPal Scams and How to Spot Them

7 Common PayPal Scams and How to Spot Them

Written by / Courtesy of Hongkiat

Whether you want to start up an online business or want to do secure online shopping, PayPal is the most secure and convenient solution. Although PayPal does list security guidelines for both the sellers and the buyers, but most users don’t care to read them. On top of that, scammers are smart enough to get around these securities using cheap tricks.

If you use PayPal for online transactions whether as a seller or a buyer, scammers are ought to get you. And to help you stay alert and understand when something is fishy, I am going to list down 7 common PayPal scams and how to protect yourself against them.

PayPal Scams That Affects Sellers

1. Open a PayPal account from the buyer’s link


If you’re a seller but don’t have a PayPal account, it may happen that a buyer will approach you and tell you that they would like to buy your goods but they will make payment through PayPal. They might even add something extra incentive – like bulk purchase – to sweeten the deal.

However, when you’ll tell them that you don’t have a PayPal account, they will send a link to open a new PayPal account.

What’s happening behind the scene?

Actually, the buyer has no interest in buying something from you. They just want you to open a PayPal account using their provided link. This is actually a phishing attack, as this link is a fake one that redirects you to a fake PayPal sign up form.

All the information you’ll enter in this form will be directly sent to the scammer. This includes your email address, home address, phone number, credit card details, security question, password, and many other types of sensitive information.

The scammer can use all of this information to hack your other accounts, including financial and social media accounts. They can also use the card details to make purchases or scam others.

How to protect against this scam?

As a rule of thumb, never open or access an account given to you in an email. Always go to the official website and sign up or log in from there. Other than that, the phishing website URL will also not be from “paypal.com”, it could be similar such as “paypall.com” which is obviously a fake.

And if you have seen PayPal’s actual sign up page before, then you’ll notice some changes in the design as well.

Simply don’t take this bait and open a PayPal account from the official website and continue the transaction (if the buyer still wants to buy, that is).

2. Send the purchased item to a different address


The buyer will tell you that they want to buy the item for a friend and want to send it as a surprise gift. Therefore, although they will make the payment through their PayPal account, but the item needs to be delivered to a different address.

What’s happening behind the scene?

PayPal takes no responsibility for delivery of goods that have not been delivered to the address registered with the buyer’s PayPal account. Expecting that you don’t know this information, the buyer will tempt you to make the delivery to a different address (may even add extra money).

When you will deliver the item, the buyer will open a dispute that they never received the item. Now even if you provide shipping confirmation receipt, PayPal can’t do anything about it as it has not been shipped to the address registered with PayPal. The buyer will get their money back, and you just lose your sold item.

How to protect against such scam?

It is clearly written in PayPal security guidelines that you should never deliver an item to an address other than the one it is registered with on PayPal. So simply declining such requests is enough for protection.

3. Buyer overpays


While buying some goods from you, the buyer will pay some extra money. Afterwards, they will message you that they accidentally sent you extra money and you should wire transfer (or use any other unsafe method of payment) to send that money back to them.

What’s happening behind the scene?

The buyer might be using a hacked PayPal account to make the payment. When the actual owner will find out about the money transfer, they will ask PayPal to return the full amount.

PayPal will return the money to the PayPal account owner and you will get your item back. However, you’ll lose the extra money that you sent to the scammer.

The buyer can also do this from their actual PayPal account, and later open a dispute and claim that they don’t want the item for any reason and want to return it for a refund. They will get their full money back and the extra money you wired will also be there’s.

How to protect?

While doing a PayPal transaction, stick with only PayPal in the whole process. PayPal can only offer protection for transactions that have been made using its platform. For such requests, you should refund the full amount and ask them to send the correct payment again.

You might also be interested in letting PayPal know about this and request them to handle the situation.

Continue reading the original article over at Hongkiat.com.