NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Scam artists are using an exploit to rip off users of PayPal, the website used by millions to make payments online.
CBS2’s Chris Wragge tells about one such case when college siblings Indica Mosley and her brother Charles decided to sell some of their pricey sneakers for some needed extra cash.
“We pay a lot of tuition. so we figured we would give our parents a break and kind of try and help out with groceries and gas and stuff,” said Indica.
They listed 23 sneakers on an app called Bump, and in the blink of an eye, they had a buyer willing to pay nearly $3,000.
Excited and eager, when the buyer suggested the siblings get off Bump, avoid the $180 service fee and use PayPal instead, they agreed
“They said they would send the money right over and they sent it,” said Indica. “So we shipped out the shoes and we pretty much waited for them to get there and waited for the payment.”
They waited in vain, and eventually reality set in: The PayPal email was fake and they’d been scammed out of two $1,500 payments for the sneakers.
“It just blows my mind that everything was fake,” she said.
“Scammers are getting smarter every day,” said cyber security expert Eric Chin-Tan.
What made this email nearly picture perfect, was the flawless blue logo, no spelling errors, the correct size font, and the security link that takes you right to PayPal’s official page.
The one tell was the mail’s email address: It ended in “@mail” instead of “@paypal.”
Mosley’s far from the only consumer falling for fake PayPal emails. On the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker, CBS2 found nearly 100 complaints.
Mosley’s attempt to get help from the real PayPal didn’t go anywhere.
“They told us there was nothing they can do to help because it didn’t come from PayPal,” she said.
The company does offer advice on its website: “Think you are on a spoof sight or got a fake email posing as PayPal? Just email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, we’ll take a look and reply shortly.”
Experts say, even if you get email of a payment.. make sure to check your account to confirm it came in. And if you start to sell something on an app, it’s always safer to stay with that app and finish the sale, even if that means you’ll pay a fee. That step offers you protection.