PayPal made a name for itself back in the late ’90s as the payment provider for eBay transactions. Since then, it has grown significantly with lots of features. PayPal now is the preferred payment provider for dozens of websites. It allows users to transfer money to family and friends, pay businesses, invest, and have money pools. What is also great about PayPal is that you can have more than one bank account or credit card linked giving you access to all of your accounts when needed.

With so many abilities available on PayPal it makes it very susceptible to frauds and scams. If you’re not careful, your simple and secure way of paying for goods and services can go downhill real quick. Don’t worry though! Just stay vigilant for these common scammer favorites and you’ll be fine.

Spam mail, scam mail

Be wary of emails that at first glance appear to be from PayPal. It is actually very easy to make the name that appears under the from line say something familiar to its intended recipient. However, digging a little deeper will reveal a lot and will definitely be worth it. If you hover over the name or reply to the email, you will see the real sender of the email. Scammers send these fake emails to sellers alerting them that the payment for the product has been made, but won’t be deposited until a tracking number is provided. Of course, the seller wants their money so they hurry and mail off the product. The scammer sends more emails stringing you along. By the time you realize something fishy is going on, it’s too late. They have your product for free. Remember that PayPal is used for many things, but acting as an escrow account is not one of them. PayPal will never hold onto your money until a product is sent or anything of that nature. PayPal is used to transfer payments between recipients. Not holding on to any funds.

Gone phishing

Phishing scams are also popular with PayPal users. Phishing scams are when an email is sent in hopes that the recipient will click a link. Once the link is clicked, the sender is able is to get the recipient log in information. In the case with PayPal, an email is sent stating that money has been deposited and that you need to log in and confirm to have it available to you. Once you click that button, you’ll be directed to a fake website that looks a lot like PayPal. Once you log in, it’s a wrap. The scammer will now have your login information and access to your account. They will be able to withdraw and transfer money as they choose. If you have multiple bank accounts linked then they’ve really hit the jackpot. Don’t fret though. The moment that you realize it’s not an official page, change your password! Change it to something that can not be easily guessed and a password that you do not use for any other website.

Delivery unsuccessful

Unfortunately, there isn’t really anything that you can be on guard to avoid being a victim of this scam. The scammer will purchase the item but provide an incorrect shipping address. After the tracking reflects several unsuccessful delivery attempts due to an incorrect address, the scammer files a complaint with PayPal saying they never received the item. Thus, being provided a refund. Afterward, the scammer contacts the delivery company and arranges for them to deliver the product to the correct address.

Hackers paradise

This next scammer trick is a little more complex. Everything appears normal at first glance. The money is deposited into the seller’s PayPal account. The shipping address is a deliverable address. Everything has a green light. Since everything is going according to plan to and there are no red flags, you mail the item. Here comes the catch. The PayPal account that was used to pay for the item was a hacked account. Scammers use the same phishing scam that was mentioned above to login to someone else’s PayPal account and pay for stuff. Once PayPal finds out that the account that the payment was from was hacked, they reimburse the account owner their money. Thus, leaving you without the item that you shipped off and the payment.

An honest mistake gone wrong

Some scammers will make a purchase and pay more than the asking price. It’s just an honest mistake, right? Wrong. The overpayment was done on purpose. The scammer then sends a complaint to PayPal that their account was hacked and they never intended to make that payment. They get reimbursed and you’re out of that overpayment amount is.

Recognize the scam

It can be quite nerve-wracking to know that there are so many ways that you could be scammed. Don’t be too freaked out though. The key is to stay vigilant, focused, and to know the red flags. If you’ve received an email alert from PayPal hit reply just to be sure it’s actually from PayPal. Or better yet, log into the app or the website to check your messages straight from the source. If you’re on your computer, use your mouse and hover! Before clicking on any hyperlinked words or buttons, hover over them so that you can see the real link destination. If you have the time, google addresses before you send items. If you get phished, remember to change your password to something that can not be easily guessed.

It may seem like a lot of work to try to stay ahead of scammers, but it is absolutely necessary. You must do what you have to do to protect yourself. For more information on how to be aware of scammer tricks check out Get the information that you need straight from the horse’s mouth.