Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

Beware This PayPal Scam: Email Says Money Posted in Your Account

A PayPal scam involving receipt of a fake notifications through email has been giving users trouble recently, reports San Antonio's WOAI-TV. PayPal is arguably the e-commerce giant when it comes to sending payments online. With more than 132 million accounts, its popularity not only supports a customer base who trusts them but also scammers who prey on those customers.

PayPal scams are not uncommon. Here is a rundown of this one and how you should protect yourself from it:

Fake "PayPal" Email Confirmation

WOAI-TV recounts a real-life example of this scam from 15-year-old Adam Perkins. Perkins first put his laptop on eBay and a received a buyer confirmation right away.

Then, he received an email from "PayPal" claiming that they had his funds. The buyer, in turn, then requested that Adam ship the laptop. A Friday deadline for overnight shipping turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as a second glance at the alleged PayPal email turned up several grammatical and spelling errors. The lack of professionalism from a legitimate business like PayPal seemed incredibly suspect, and lo and behold, the email was indeed not from PayPal.

This type of scam usually involves the suspect buying an item, sending out a fake email on behalf of PayPal confirming payment, and then receiving the goods without having ever paid.

Take Necessary Steps to Protect Yourself

Don't let this happen to you. Make sure that you take the precautionary steps necessary in order to protect yourself. PayPal suggests the following two guidelines to follow in spotting a fake email:

  • PayPal emails will always use your first and last name or your business's name
  • PayPal emails will also never ask for any personal or account information (this includes credit or debit card numbers, driver's license number, bank account details, etc.)

Also, be on the lookout for other obvious red flags -- such as typos, no transaction reflected in your bank account when there should be, or anything else that just doesn't sit right with you. Be sure to alert PayPal if you come across a suspect or fake email by forwarding it to spoof@paypal.com, and then delete the email from your account.

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