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Tue Mar 20 2018 20:45:16

Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam

By: David Steiner

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Virtually anyone with an email address can request money from someone with a PayPal account. That's the double-edged sword with PayPal - it's simple to set up and use for legitimate purposes, but fraudsters can count on that ease-of-use to try and perpetrate scams.

The PayPal Money Request scam has been around for a while, but occasionally we see an uptick in old tricks, so consider this PSA a friendly reminder. 

Here's how it works: You receive an unsolicited email with the subject "You've got a money request." You may just delete the email out of hand, but if it is not a spoof email and originates from PayPal (obviously don't click on any links within the email), the next time you log into your PayPal account you'll see the pending money request in your account activity page.

Once you're logged into your account, the Transaction Detail page for the money request will give you two options - Send Payment | Cancel. You'll (obviously) want to cancel the transaction, and you'll want to do it sooner than later, as the money request can blend in with other PayPal transactions if you're using it frequently. 

Someone wrote about this scam in 2009 about a $5 request. Commentors in 2010 said they were getting $10 requests. The screenshot below from a recent request was for $50 - chalk it up to inflation.

This type of scam is really a numbers game. Fraudsters are hoping these requests are received by people who are either naive or more likely, busy online merchants who make dozens or sometimes hundreds of PayPal transactions daily, and may unintentionally authorize a payment before realizing it wasn't attached to a legitimate transaction. 

It doesn't take a high percentage of success to make this venture profitable for a scammer. And it wouldn't be pervasive if there wasn't some level of success. So remain vigilant.




Comments (6) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam   Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Mar 22 00:25:34 2018

I would have near zero chance of falling for this scam, but as the author states, some may process multiple requests a day and inadvertently authorize the money request.  

Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam   Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Mar 22 02:35:18 2018

While most of us may say we would never fall for such a scam, the sad truth is that enough of us do to make it profitable for the scammers.  Which is why this same old tired scam returns from time to time.  It works well for the scammer.

Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam   Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 22 09:47:01 2018

There are a lot of stupid people in the world. If someone is dumb enough to fall for this, then he deserves what he gets.

Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam   Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Mar 22 12:43:39 2018

@geoffreymason
You often paint with a wide brush and it just does not hold true.  

My mom was a VERY smart woman.  Certainly difficult at times, but very smart nonetheless.  She almost fell prey to a similar scam that had been around for many years.  Fortunately she had me looking out for her.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people and/or smart people.

Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam   Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Fri Mar 23 01:50:47 2018

@Marie True! The reason I wouldn't fall victim is due to my  low sales volume. If I processed a lot of payments then it could slip by (and yes, it could happen to anyone).  

Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam   Beware the PayPal Money Request Scam

by: lisapar This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 23 06:38:30 2018

It truly amazes me that people still fall for these scams, or the pop-up that says your computer has been infected and you must pay to unlock it.  Just the other day I had a customer EMAIL her credit card number to me -- including exp date and the 3-digit code (shaking my head).



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