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PayPal Portrayed as the Good and Bad Guy in News Reports

Stories about shoppers defrauded online crop up every day, and PayPal is often featured – sometimes portrayed as the good guy, sometimes as part of the problem.

Witness the headline, “Scam of the Week: How PayPal could be risky business” from Ky3.com. A buyer told the news outlet that someone used her debit card registered with PayPal to purchase Facebook ads, stealing over $600 from her checking account.

She said it took 45 minutes to speak to someone at PayPal, which is still reviewing the charge and could take a few weeks. However, the shoppers’ bank gave her a new card and the $600 within a few days because she pays for fraud protection for her debit card.

On the other hand, there are stories like this one from Thv11.com called “Fake business scams mom out of money.”

“Facebook consignment groups have become a popular way for moms to buy and sell children’s clothing, but one central Arkansas woman says she may never see her money again,” it reported.

The woman purchased some items and never received them, only to discover that “this same seller was showing up in consignment Facebook groups all over the country, using the same profile picture, but a different name,” according to the news outlet, which went on to advise readers, “”More than anything, use the services like PayPal that protect your transactions and your personal information.” Once PayPal determines a fraud claim is valid they will reimburse the buyer for the cost of the product as well as shipping.”

One recent story from the UK shows how lucrative online fraud can be – and how important it is for shoppers to understand the terms and conditions of ecommerce-related services. The Standard said a criminal gang suspected of being part of a multi-million-pound eBay scam that thousands of people fell for was sentenced for a total of 18 years.

According to this report about the gang on Auctionfraud.police.uk, one victim, a couple, thought they were protected by PayPal. “When the vehicle did not arrive and they could not contact the “seller”, they realised they had been defrauded. PayPal terms and conditions state that buyer protection does not cover motorised vehicles of any kind.”

It’s helpful for sellers to remember that online shoppers read reports every day about online scams and fraud – but sellers must also be on the lookout for scams from scammers posing as legitimate buyers.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.