According to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for cybercrime, over 3,000 reports were completed for fake PayPal emails between October and December 2019. Victims reportedly lost over £1 million during this time, with the scam being deceptively simple. The fraudster starts by sending the victim an email under the guise of PayPal in an attempt to convince them that they have received payment for an item.
Martin Lewis: Expert reveals how to get free cash from Paypal Martin Lewis: How to earn higher interest rates for your savings
REVEALED: New era of state sponsored HACKING
As Pauline Smith, Director of Action Fraud, detailed: “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 behaviour, like asking for a tracking number before you have sent the item, seem like a legitimate request.
READ MORE: Amazon Prime scam: Amazon UK reveals warning signs customers should watch out for online
Cybercrime has become a real issue for the modern world (Image: GETTY)
The explosion of online shopping has made it a prime target for fraudsters (Image: GETTY)
“If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to us.”
The organisation has made it easy to report fraud by creating an online reporting tool. The tool guides users through simple questions to establish what happened and there are advisors available for assistance.
There is a chance that cyber-attacks or related cybersecurity incidents may need to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Well known online marketplaces are extremely popular with consumers, making them a prime target for fraudsters. Despite increasing online security, the largest internet companies still need to continually update their efforts.
Spotify customers urged to watch out as ‘convincing-looking’ scam tactic emerges [WARNING]
Monzo scam warning: Monzo reveals worrying signs bank account holders should watch out for [ALERT]
Catch Me If You Can fraud expert Frank Abagnale warns ‘never use a debit card online’ [EXPERT]
Pension scam warning: How to detect a scammer Scam warning: Local businesses urged to be ‘extra vigilant’
As a spokesperson for eBay confirmed: “Fraudsters use very sophisticated methods to try and circumvent trusted website security and we continuously enhance and update our security infrastructure to tackle new fraud trends.
“We encourage all members to take precautions that will improve the level of security protection on their accounts.
“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.”
PayPal themselves have also issued some precautions that consumers should take when using their service. To start with, they detail that PayPal should always be logged into to check on legitimacy.
Common sense is an easy tool to use for resisting online fraud (Image: GETTY)
Richard Branson issues warning after Virgin founder was targeted
If a suspicious email is received, it should not be acted on, nor should any links within the email be clicked. Any new activity should be checked on using the PayPal website or app.
Basic details should also be checked, no matter how trivial they may seem. Simple spelling mistakes or grammatical errors can be a red flag. This could even boil down to how the user is being addressed. PayPal makes a point of always addressing individuals by their first and last name in emails and anything else could be suspicious.
They (along with many companies these days) will never ask for passwords, bank account or credit card details in a message.
The old adage of “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” should be remembered. Common sense will stretch a long way when dealing with fraudsters.
Online security needs to be continually updated as fraudsters become more clever (Image: GETTY)
Anything that is significantly reduced in price or offers unbelievable value should be questioned.
PayPal also allow easy reporting of phishing emails, any suspicious details can be forwarded to [email protected] The company will then let the sender know if it’s fraudulent.
Common sense seems to be a prevalent theme for reporting cybercrime. The advice that Action Fraud give is to simply be aware. Anyone selling items on an online marketplace, such as eBay, should always verify payment is received before sending anything in return.
They also advise to never respond to any emails that look suspicious or ask for personal and financial details. Their final point is to simply listen to instincts. If anything feels wrong then is it is usually the right call to question it.