14 PayPal Scams to Watch Out For

PayPal scams

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.

PayPal scam

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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.

PayPal scam

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.

PayPal scam

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.

11. Fake Hyperlink Scams

Scammers embed malicious links in emails, SMS, and websites, which, when clicked, can lead to phishing sites or install malware on your device. It’s crucial to avoid clicking on suspicious links and to use antivirus software for additional protection??.

12. You’ve been paid” Scam

In this scam, sellers receive a fake confirmation from PayPal indicating that they’ve been paid for an item. Before shipping any products, always verify the payment by logging directly into your PayPal account??.

13. Advance Payment” Scam

This scam involves an email notifying you of a large sum of money you’ve supposedly won or inherited, asking for a small advance payment via PayPal to cover transaction fees or other expenses. Be wary of offers for free money and always verify through your PayPal account??.

14. Promotional Offer” or “You Have Money Waiting” Scam

You might receive an email offering a financial incentive, like a cash rebate, and directing you to log into your PayPal account to claim the reward. These emails often lead to fake PayPal websites designed to steal your login credentials??.


How to Avoid a PayPal Scam

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

  • Use the seller protection tools: Leveraging the suite of seller protection tools within PayPal is paramount. This comprehensive program not only facilitates the safe transfer of funds but also provides mechanisms for tracking shipping details, overseeing transactions, and accessing a specialized resolution center. These features collectively enhance your ability to transact securely.
  • Look out for fake emails: Scammers often follow consistent patterns in their fraudulent emails. In the event of uncertainty regarding the authenticity of an email’s source, cross-reference it with previously received communications from PayPal. Alternatively, reach out directly to PayPal through verified channels to validate the legitimacy of the correspondence.
  • Avoid transactions with unknown accounts: An important rule of thumb is to abstain from receiving or sending money through accounts that lack a clear and established connection. Suspicion should be raised if the email or invoice appears dubious or emanates from an unfamiliar source. Under such circumstances, exercise caution and avoid clicking on any links.
  • Safeguard private information: The sanctity of your personal data should remain sacrosanct. Never relinquish sensitive information, such as payment methods or bank account details, unless you have initiated contact with PayPal through the verified contact details listed on their official website. This ensures that your confidential information remains within trusted channels.
  • Exercise skepticism with irresistible offers: Scammers capitalize on human tendencies by fabricating alluring offers and emails that are difficult to resist. If an offer seems too good to be true, conduct thorough research before divulging any information. When doubt lingers, reach out to PayPal directly to authenticate the legitimacy of the offer before proceeding.
Preventative MeasuresDescription
Use Seller Protection ToolsUtilize PayPal's comprehensive suite of protection tools to ensure secure fund transfers and access the resolution center.
Look for Fake EmailsIdentify consistent patterns in fraudulent emails; cross-reference with past communications or verify through official channels.
Avoid Unknown Account TransactionsRefrain from sending or receiving money through unfamiliar accounts to prevent potential scams and suspicious links.
Safeguard Personal InformationKeep sensitive details secure; share payment and bank information only through verified PayPal contacts or official sources.
Exercise Caution with OffersApproach enticing offers skeptically; conduct thorough research and verify the legitimacy of offers directly with PayPal.

By diligently adhering to these preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling prey to PayPal scams. Your vigilance and proactive engagement with security protocols will serve as effective shields against the ever-evolving landscape of online fraud.

PayPal scam


PayPal Scam FAQs

Can you get scammed through PayPal?

Yes, scammers adeptly exploit the widespread use of PayPal, rendering users susceptible to an array of fraudulent schemes. While PayPal maintains a solid security framework, the key lies in understanding the prevalent scams to fortify your own protection and bolster confidence in utilizing its services. By staying informed about potential pitfalls, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to scams.

What are the most common PayPal scams to be aware of?

Among the several prevalent PayPal scams, PayPal Phishing Scams stand out, where malicious actors craft sophisticated fake PayPal websites to clandestinely harvest personal data. Another peril is PayPal Email Scams, wherein scammers skillfully compose convincing emails that lead recipients to counterfeit sites, extracting sensitive information. The PayPal Text Scam is equally treacherous, utilizing text messages to demand immediate action while luring individuals into fraudulent sites. The Nova Armory PayPal Scam involves perpetrators issuing false invoices, often coupled with fictitious phone numbers, preying on the unsuspecting. Additionally, the realm of PayPal is marred by PayPal Invoice Scams, where malefactors send counterfeit invoices from genuine PayPal accounts.

What other PayPal scams should I watch out for?

Further vigilance is essential against the PayPal Bitcoin Scam Email, where cybercriminals orchestrate spurious Bitcoin transactions via email, potentially leading to the installation of malicious software. The eBay PayPal Scams is another lurking threat, where buyers exploit the system by falsely claiming non-receipt of items to gain unwarranted refunds. Additionally, PayPal Fee Scams involve scammers coercing victims into paying fees for non-existent prizes or rewards. The PayPal Overpayment Scams entail scammers overpaying sellers and later demanding reimbursement, causing financial loss. Beware also of the Hacked Account Scam on PayPal, where cybercriminals exploit compromised accounts for fraudulent transactions, potentially tarnishing sellers’ reputations.

How can I avoid falling victim to a PayPal scam?

Shielding oneself from PayPal scams demands proactive measures. Employ PayPal’s Seller Protection Tools, encompassing tracking and resolution center features, to mitigate risks. Exercise caution when encountering emails, diligently scrutinizing content for telltale signs of scams. Refrain from transactions involving unfamiliar accounts, and exercise discretion when sharing personal information, only doing so via official PayPal channels. Maintain a skeptical stance towards enticing offers, conducting research and verifying their legitimacy with PayPal prior to divulging any sensitive details.

How can I recognize if I’ve been scammed on my PayPal account?

Discerning potential scams necessitates an astute eye. Phrases like “Hello PayPal user” or messages pertaining to urgent issues or payments should raise suspicion. These are often red flags indicating a possible scam attempt.

Will PayPal refund money if I’m scammed?

The outcome of seeking refunds from PayPal in the event of scams can vary based on the circumstances. PayPal may offer refunds in cases where purchased items are not received and sellers remain unresponsive. However, for other types of scams, refund options may differ. It’s imperative to maintain vigilance, promptly reporting any suspicions to PayPal to initiate necessary actions.

How should I safeguard myself from PayPal scams?

Safeguarding oneself against PayPal scams requires a multi-faceted approach. Stay well-informed about prevalent scam techniques and remain vigilant when engaging with any PayPal-related communication. In instances of suspicion, proactively report potential scams to PayPal for appropriate intervention. By leveraging security features, verifying authenticity, and exercising prudence, you can significantly reduce the risk of being ensnared by scams while using PayPal.

Image: Envato Elements

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Myra Nizami Myra is a a staff writer for Small Business Trends as well as freelance writer and researcher based in London, UK. Myra has been writing for businesses across a variety of sectors and industries since 2013.

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