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Fake PayPal emails lead to over £1 million in losses

13 February 2020

Action Fraud is warning people selling items online to be on the lookout for fraudsters sending fake PayPal emails.

Between October 2019 and December 2019, 3,059 crime reports were made to Action Fraud about fake PayPal emails. Victims reported losing a total of £1,121,446 during this time. 

Those targeted included people selling electronics, vehicles, phones and household furniture via online marketplaces.

Fraudsters sent victims an email purporting to be from PayPal in an attempt to trick them into believing they had received payment for an item.

The fraudster then sent a follow-up email requesting a tracking number in the hope that the victim would be rushed into shipping the item before they had had a chance to verify the payment.

Director of Action Fraud Pauline Smith said: “We know that fraudsters will go to great lengths to target people on online marketplaces, which is why we are working hard together with our partners to highlight the threat and prevent people from falling victim.

“It’s really important to follow our advice to help protect yourself and always trust your instincts – criminals will try and make unusual behavior, like asking for a tracking number before you have sent the item, seem like a legitimate request.

“If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to us.”

A spokesperson for eBay, said: “Don’t get caught by fake payment emails and always confirm you’ve received a PayPal payment before sending an item – check your PayPal account and ensure the payment icon in your My eBay is highlighted."