Posted: Tue 10th Nov 2020

Action Fraud urges online sellers to watch out for fake PayPal emails

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Nov 10th, 2020

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A national cybercrime reporting centre are urging people selling items online to watch out for fake PayPal emails.

Action Fraud received a total of 21,349 crime reports between January 2020 and September 2020 about fake PayPal emails with victims reportedly losing approximately £7,891,077.44 during this time.

The emails are said to be a trick in which the criminal attempts to make a would-be victim believe they have received payment for items they are selling on the platform.

After receiving these emails, the victim will usually then send the item to the criminal, leaving them without payment or in possession of the item.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said: “We know that criminals will go to great lengths to target people on online marketplaces, especially now many more people are selling items online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Criminals have taken advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to commit fraud and will continue to do so. We are working hard, together with our partners such as PayPal to raise awareness of the types of scams being committed and prevent people from falling victim.

“It’s really important to follow our advice to help protect yourself. If you receive a suspicious email claiming you’ve received payment for an item you’re selling, take five minutes to check directly with PayPal that the communication is genuine. If something feels wrong then always question it.”

Action Fraud issued a similar warning earlier this year after it received 3,059 crime reports about fake PayPal emails between October 2019 and December 2019.

In one instance, a victim received a fake PayPal email claiming the buyer accidently paid more than they should have, the buyer then asking the victim to pay the difference by sending a gift card to them – to which they did.

In another instance, a fake PayPal email claimed the buyer had accidently paid for an item twice, the buyer then asking to wire the overpayment to a bank account in a different country.

A spokesperson for PayPal, said: “At PayPal we go to great lengths to protect our customers in the UK, but there are still a few simple precautions we should all take to avoid falling victim to scams.

“All communications from PayPal to account holders would be sent to the secure message centre within their PayPal account. You will have a secure message waiting if PayPal does need you to take any action.

“A genuine PayPal email will only ever address you by your full name – anything that starts differently should immediately raise your suspicions.

“Look out for spelling mistakes, which are a common tell-tale sign of a fraudulent message.”

If you think that you have received a suspicious email, you can forward it to [email protected].

PayPal will let you know whether it is fraudulent.

More information about PayPal’s protection policies can be found on their website:

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online at or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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