Identified Scam:

Package Reroute Scam: Always Buy Your Own Shipping Labels

Although buyers may seem like they're being helpful, an offer to organize shipping for you is often an attempt to scam you.


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Updated 3 June 2021
Package Reroute Scam: Always Buy Your Own Shipping Labels
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Identified Scam:

Key Finding

Scammers pay for items via PayPal, then offer to organize shipping themselves or give you a fake address. Once you ship the item, they reroute the package then claim the item was never delivered to the correct address.


Key Risk

PayPal will refund the buyer (i.e., scammer), leaving you without your item and money.

Sections on this page
  1. What is the PayPal Package Reroute Scam?
  2. How Do You Beat and Avoid the PayPal Package Reroute Scam?
  3. PayPal Package Reroute Scam Examples
  4. Have You Fallen For This Scam?
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

Beating PayPal package reroute scams is as easy as buying your own shipping labels when selling items. As tempting as it may be to allow the buyer to buy the shipping label or to use their shipping account which gives you a discount, this opens you up to being scammed.

What is the PayPal Package Reroute Scam?

In this scam, a buyer will scam you out of your money and item by claiming they never received the item. This is an easy scam to beat as long as you follow some best practices when shipping items. Here's how the scam works.

The Buyer Requests That You Use Their Shipping Account

The scammer, posing as a buyer, might ask you as a seller to use their shipping account for various reasons, such as their ability to get a discount or that they have worked with the shipping company for years, or that their service is cheaper. The buyer counts on your good nature in wanting them to enjoy any of those breaks.

There are other variations to this scam, including where the buyer:

  • Asks you to wire the shipping fees directly to their preferred shipping company’s address.
  • Gives you a different address to what they provided within the PayPal transaction.
Example Messages from Scammer

"Please I will provide the shipping label for you. I have a discount through this shipping company and it will save you money."

"Is it ok to ship it to my house instead of my mom's? My PayPal address is my mom's house when I used to live with her but I want to surprise her with this gift and give it to her myself."

The Buyer Changes the Shipping Address Mid-Transaction

Once you agree to use the buyer’s preferred shipping company, the buyer can easily call that shipping company and request that they reroute the package to another address. You might even be able to monitor the progress of the shipping company and see that they are unable to deliver the package.

The Buyer Claims They Did Not Receive the Shipment

With the change of address, the buyer has effectively rerouted the shipment and can open up a complaint requesting a full refund since they didn’t receive the order at the original address. Meanwhile, your package was diverted and lost to you with no proof that you sent it.

You Lose Your Money and Product

There is no way for you to prove that the buyer did or did not receive their order. That leaves you out of your product, payment, and shipping costs. Further, the scammer has your product and can use it for their gain, whether for personal use or resale.

Worst of all, because the package wasn’t delivered—or attempted to be delivered—to the address on the Transaction Details page, you are not eligible for PayPal’s Seller Protection.

To add insult to injury, you might need to pay the shipping company an additional rerouting fee.

How Do You Beat and Avoid the PayPal Package Reroute Scam?

Understand how the PayPal package rerouting scam works, and all the steps involved will help you beat and avoid it. The scammers who use the package rerouting scam count on your trusting nature in trying to help them as a buyer or seller, so keep those factors in mind during every transaction.

Remind yourself that your business is important and that you need to maintain certain standards to protect yourself when doing business. You should always follow best practices when buying and selling products using PayPal:

  • Only use your own shipping account and your trusted shipping vendor to ensure that you know where your package is at all times while en route and when it reaches its final destination, per your agreement with the buyer.
  • Only ship to the shipping address listed in the PayPal transaction. If the buyer requests shipment to a different address, refuse and ship to the original address or cancel the transaction.
  • Review their account if a buyer requests that you use their preferred shipping service. See if their PayPal account is either new or has received a flag for potential fraud. While there are other ways they can circumvent the system, such as using a stolen card or bank account information, these are a few quick ways to catch them if they’re relatively new to the scam.
  • Validate the buyer’s address before shipping by using software or a trusted online service that check’s the address to ensure that the listed address is viable. The software or service checks common address errors, such as misspelled street or city names. Finally, check zip codes at the USPS website for verification.
  • Reach out to your shipping company and requesting that they block buyers from changing shipping information in the middle of a transaction.

PayPal Package Reroute Scam Examples

As you can see, this scam relies on your good and trusting nature when dealing with people who are out to trick others out of their money and products. Here are a few examples of this scam in action:

Example of a PayPal package reroute scam
(Source: PayPal Community)

Example of PayPal package reroute scam
(Source: PayPal Community)

Have You Fallen For This Scam?

If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of falling for this scam, there isn’t too much you can do to get your item back. It’s pretty much useless to contact the shipping company since they did their job and delivered the item to the address it was supposed to go to—at least on their end.

You can try to dispute the refund via the PayPal Resolution Center and inform PayPal of the scam. However, since you didn’t use your own shipping label, you may not win your case.

Contact Details

PayPal



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The only thing you can really do is to report the scam to the authorities (and PayPal) to help warn and educate others and put a stop to the scammers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I reroute a package that the scammer has already rerouted?

No. If the scammer bought the shipping label, they would have full control of where the package is being sent since they likely listed themselves as the sender. 

What do I do if a buyer asks me to send it to a different address than was on PayPal?

If a buyer requests that you send it to an address different from their shipping address in PayPal, tell them you can't and cancel the transaction if they continue to insist. Sending packages to an address different from what's in the PayPal transaction details will open you up to being scammed.

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