Account Restricted Alerts, Prepaid Cards, Overpayments, … How to Avoid PayPal Scams?

PayPal scam

Do you use PayPal? Reaching 392 million active users in the first quarter of 2021, it is one of the most popular online transaction platforms in the United States and the world at-large. However, scammers make use of its popularity as well as its convenience — to exploit people with phishing pages and other tricky tactics! Read on for a primer on how to protect yourself from PayPal scams.

3 Common PayPal Scams

PayPal Phishing SMS / Email

  • Security alert / account restricted / suspicious login:
    PayPal phishing scams are not new to us. Posing as PayPal officials, scammers send you spoofing emails or text messages, telling you that there are security issues with you PayPal account.

    For example, they say your account has been restricted, suspicious login activities are detected, or that your payment methods failed.

    Then, to solve the problem mentioned, they instruct you to visit the attached link either to verify your account or the change setting details. Here are some examples.
PayPal_SMS_1026
Source: Reddit

Content:
Paypal: we have blocked your account due to concerns, please verify your information here: httDs://paypal[.]account-suDDort-ref678[.]com to remove the block.

PayPal_email scam_1027

Content:
Your PayPaI account has been temporarily restricted
Your PayPaI account has been limited. We have found suspicious activity on your last transaction. At this time, you won’t be able to :
• Send Payment
• Withdraw Funds
Login to your PayPaI account and take the steps requested. Log in to PayPaI
Sincerely, PayPaI Support

————
Your PayPal account has been temporarily restricted
You were recently asked to take .in action on your account and it looks like we didn’t receive a requested response. We have found suspicious activity on the credit card linked to your PayPal account You must confirm your identity to confirm that you are the owner of the credit card. To maintain account security, please provide documents confirming your identity We’ve also imposed temporary limits on certain features on your PayPal account Login to your PayPal account and perform the required steps
Login to PayPal
Thank you for being a PayPal customer. Sincerely PayPal

PayPal_password_1027
Source: Reddit

Content:
You’ve just changed your password We just wanted to confirm that you’ve changed your password. If you didn’t change your password, please click here right away. It s important that you let us know because it helps us prevent unauthorised persons from accessing the PayPal network and your account information.
Tips to help protect your password:

Never share your password or security questions with anyone.
Create passwords that are hard to guess and don’t use personal information. Be sure to include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Use different passwords for each of your online accounts.

  • Payment notification:
    In other cases, scammers falsely claim that you’ve received payments to your PayPal account. Again, to view your balance details, you are asked to click on embedded links (or hyperlinked buttons) in the text messages / emails.
PayPal_payment_email_1027
Source: Reddit

Content:
You’ve got pending operation on balance of your account

  • PayPal prepaid card giveaway:
    “Get $1,000 PayPal prepaid card!” Watch out! Scammers spread fake raffle campaigns on social media (sometimes in the name of famous companies), prompting you to click on a link to register for the campaign. There are no free prepaid cards.
PayPal_prepaid card_1027
Source: Facebook

Such links are phishing links. A phishing link may take you to fake PayPal login pages that require you to enter login credentials. Or, they may lead to fake online survey pages which collect your personal information:

PayPal_phishing_1027

You will end up exposing your sensitive data; scammers can thus use it for identity thefts or just take over your PayPal account. What’s even worse, malware may start to download as soon as  you click!

PayPal Advance Fee Scam

Besides phishing links, scammers also tend to trick you into sending them money via PayPal. They make up various excuses to charge you some advance fee (again, via PayPal). For example, it is common in an online job scam that scammers ask you to pay an amount in advance to secure the job, or to buy office equipment, or for “start-up packages,” just to name a few.

Alternatively, in a “sugar daddy scam”, scammers guarantee monthly payment for the victims, but they can only get the money after they’ve paid some “verification fee”.

PayPal_suggar daddy_1027
Source: Reddit

PayPal Overpayment Refund Scam

Be cautious, online sellers! Scammers contact sellers on online marketplaces, looking to buy their products using PayPal for the purchase. Then, they send more money than the price “by accident” and ask you to return the overpaid amount.

Once you send the money back, they will cancel that overpaid transaction.  How could this happen? First of all, scammer might have used a PayPal account from other victims to pay you — or, they link a stolen credit card to their own account, and the victims find the issue and file chargeback from their banks afterwards.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Double-check sender’s phone number/email address. Legitimate PayPal email addresses as well as websites should always end with paypal.com.
  • Requests for payments in advance or sensitive personal information are a major red flag.
  • Ignore too-good-to-be-true deals.
  • Stay on trusted online shopping platforms. If someone insists on skipping the relevant platform, there must be something suspicious.
  • Always log on to PayPal via its official web page or mobile apps directly instead of via links from unknown sources.
  • Check if a web address is safe using Trend Micro Check:

1. After you’ve pinned the Trend Micro Check browser extension, it will block dangerous sites for you automatically:

Spot the Scam_TMC_0730

2. Send links or screenshots of suspicious text messages to Trend Micro Check on WhatsApp for immediate scam detection.

PayPal_TMC_1027

Don’t forget to add an extra layer of protection to your device with Trend Micro Maximum Security! It includes Web Threat Protection, Ransomware Protection, Anti-phishing, and Anti-spam Protection to help you combat scams and cyberattacks. Click the button below to give it a try:

Button_Maximum Security
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