In a typical PayPal phishing scam, the victim receives an email claiming to be from PayPal customer service or a similar department, instructing them to log in to their account, usually using situations emergency (your account has been hacked/suspended, there is a pending charge, etc). Once they click the link and enter their information, the scammer takes control of your account.
In any case, you should never click on strange links or download attachments from unknown email addresses and you may report phishing emails you receive at email@example.com.
Advance payment scams
As they say “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t”. In this type of scam, the victim is contacted and the cybercriminal reports that you are about to receive some kind of unexpected moneyfrom an inheritance from a distant relative, a random prize from a raffle, to a grand debut of a new cryptocurrency.
Most of the time, you must send a relatively small payment to receive the money. Scammers usually say that this payment is necessary to cover legal expenses or a small transaction fee. Obviously, once the victim sends that payment, they never hear from the scammer again.
People keep falling for these scams. PayPal has anti-fraud protections, but some scams still go undetected, so never trust these types of messages.
Incorrect address and claim to PayPal
The objective is almost always the same in this type of scam: cheat the seller and get a free product. A product is purchased through the PayPal payment gateway and a false address is knowingly entered.
The shipping company will mark the goods as undeliverable, at which point the scammer would contact that company and provide their real address. After that, with initial proof of undeliverability, they would file a claim with PayPal and request a refund.
PayPal has a pretty good seller protection program, which can be used to file complaints and resolve issues, but scammers still find ways to trick both the payment company and the seller. To avoid falling for this scam, only use delivery companies you trust and don’t let buyers dictate shipping terms and only ship items to confirmed addresses.
Trusting in the goodwill and generosity of people predisposes you to being able to scam them and earn easy money. For this, they establish fake NGOs and similar fraudulent organizations. In the digital age, these types of scams often take place online, sometimes through PayPal.
A typical PayPal charity scam involves a cybercriminal sending emails requesting donations referencing an ongoing humanitarian disaster or natural catastrophe to ask unsuspecting people for money. Sometimes they create fake websites and Facebook pages, or impersonate a real organization in a phishing case.
Spotting these scams can be easy, for example if an email contains grammatical and spelling errors, it was probably written and sent by a cybercriminal using machine translation tools and not by a real humanitarian organization. Track the real NGO and check that everything is in order if you want to have a good gesture.
Fake PayPal invoices
In recent years, cybercriminals have focused on sending fake cryptocurrency invoices. what they do is imitate a real cryptocurrency exchange and count on the victim being inattentive enough to click and pay. Once they do, it’s too late: your money is gone.
You must be very careful when handling PayPal invoices and double check if they are really legit. If you fall for a scam, please contact support or open a dispute in PayPal’s resolution center.