PayPal is used by millions to make payments, but now scam artists are using the trusted name to rip people off.
When Indica Mosley and her brother Charles needed extra cash, the two college siblings decided to sell some of their pricey sneakers.
“We pay a lot of tuition,” Indica explained. “So we figured we would give our parents a break and kind of try and help out with groceries and gas and stuff.”
They listed 23 sneakers on an app called Bump.
In the blink of an eye, they had a buyer willing to pay nearly $3,000.
They were excited and eager.
So when the buyer suggested the siblings get off Bump, avoid the $180 service fee and use PayPal instead, they agreed.
“They said they would send the money right over and they sent it,” Indica stated.
“You’ve got money,” read the email.
“So we shipped out the shoes and we pretty much waited for them to get there and waited for the payment,” Indica said.
The couple waited and waited some more.
Indica said she called them and texted them, but nothing happened.
Indica was upset as reality set in. The PayPal email was fake. They’d been scammed out of two $1,500 payments totaling nearly $3,000 for the sneakers.
“It just blows my mind that everything was fake,” she added.
Cybersecurity expert Eric Chan-Tin said scammers are getting smarter every day.
What made this email nearly picture perfect, according to Chan-Tin was the flawless blue logo, no spelling errors, the correct size font, and the kicker – the security link takes you right to PayPal’s official page.
What is fake about this email – the address.
“You can see the blue side here at the very end, it says @mail so that should have said @paypal,” Chan-Tin explained.
Mosley’s far from the only consumer falling for fake PayPal emails. On the BBB scam tracker, we found nearly 100 complaints.
Mosley shipped her sneakers from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Crete, Illinois, where someone signed for them.
Mosley contacted PayPal but was informed the company couldn’t help them.
They told us there was nothing they can do to help because it didn’t come from PayPal,” she said.
The company does offer advice on its website, where it said, “Think you are on a spoof site or got a fake email posing as PayPal? Just email it to email@example.com, we’ll take a look and reply shortly.”
Experts say even if you get an email saying you received a payment, make sure to check your account to confirm it came in.
One more tip from consumer advocates: If you start to sell something on an app, it’s always safer to stay with that app and finish the sale, even if that means you’ll pay a fee. That offers you protection.