Action Fraud is warning people selling items online to be on the lookout for criminals sending fake PayPal emails. Between January 2020 and September 2020, 21,349 crime reports were made to Action Fraud about fake PayPal emails. Victims reported losing a total of £7,891,077.44 during this time.
Those targeted included people selling jewellery, furniture and electronics via online marketplaces. Criminals have been targeting people selling items online, by sending them emails purporting to be from PayPal. The emails trick victims into believing they have received payment for the items they are selling on the platform.
Typically, after receiving these emails, victims will then send the item to the criminal. This leaves them at a further disadvantage having not received any payment for the item and also no longer being in possession of it.
What you need to do?
Sellers beware: If you are selling items on an online marketplace, be aware of the warning signs that your buyer is a scammer. Scammers may have negative feedback history, or may have recently set up a new account to avoid getting poor feedback. Don’t be persuaded into sending anything until you can verify you have received the payment.
Scam messages: Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.
PayPal offer the following advice:
Log into PayPal: If you receive a suspicious email, don’t act on the message or click on any links. Instead, open your browser, log into PayPal and check for any new activity. PayPal will also email or notify you in the app if you’ve received any payments.
Check the basics: Look out for misspellings and grammatical errors, which can be a tell-tale sign of a scam.
Verify an email’s authenticity: Phishing scams will often mimic the look and feel of PayPal emails, and ask you for sensitive information – something that real PayPal emails will never do.
How to spot the difference: A PayPal email will address you by your first and last name, or your business name, and we will never ask you for your full password, bank account, or credit card details in a message.
Avoid following links: If you receive an email you think is suspicious, do not click on any links or download any attachments. You can check where a link is going before you click on it by hovering over it – does it look legitimate?
Keep tabs on your information: Limit the number of places where you store your payment information online by using a secure digital wallet like PayPal. If you are making a purchase online, consider using a protected payment method such as PayPal, so if your purchase doesn’t arrive or match the product description, PayPal can reimburse you.
Easiest of all, use common sense: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is! Stay clear of exceptional deals or anything that is significantly reduced in price from what you would expect to pay.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.