- How to Identify a Fake PayPal Text Scam
- What to Do If You Receive a PayPal Text
- The Aim of the PayPal Text Scam
- What to Do After Falling for the Scam
- How to Block Scam Texts
- Other PayPal Scams to Be Aware Of
- Frequently Asked Questions
PayPal scams aren't new—fraudsters have been targeting PayPal users for years, tricking them into sending money and sensitive data to the wrong people. One of the more recent tactics is the PayPal text scam, where scammers send texts to scare you into thinking your account is being used fraudulently or that your account is being suspended.
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to protect yourself from these scams and keep your money and personal information safe.
How to Identify a Fake PayPal Text Scam
To protect yourself from these scams, it's important to know how to identify a scam text from a genuine PayPal text.
Below are some common text messages circulating that impersonate PayPal.
Although these scam text messages all differ slightly, they usually have the same messaging—that your account is limited or will be disabled unless you verify or update your account.
Example PayPal Scam Text
id 7115 Your Paypal account will be disabled today if you fail to update, visit:
Don't click the link in the text message! Scammers will use "PayPal" in their links to trick you into thinking it's legitimate. However, the actual PayPal website is PayPal.com.
Example of a Fake PayPal Text Message
PayPal: Your account is currently under review. Complete the following security form to avoid limitation: https://limited-verify.com/PayPal
PayPal text scams will use threats or fear to scare you into clicking the link. They will usually say your PayPal account will be limited, suspended, or disabled. They may also notify you of a possible fraudulent transaction.
Example Fake PayPal Text Message
PayPal : We've permanently limited your account, please click link below to verify https://signin-pyplsecurednotification.com/r/verifynow
If you click on the link, you'll be taken to a website that looks like the real PayPal site. Don't fall for it. If you look at the URL of the site, it's clearly not the genuine PayPal site at PayPal.com.
PayPal Notifies You of Account Limitations by Email
Your PayPal account may genuinely be limited for one reason or another. However, PayPal will only notify you via email or within your account notifications when you log in. PayPal does not send texts informing you of account limitations or suspensions.
What to Do If You Receive a PayPal Text
If you receive a text message from PayPal, be on the lookout for signs of a scam before taking any action. These include:
- Links to non-PayPal.com websites.
- Spelling and grammatical errors.
- Threats to close, suspend, or limit your account.
- Requests for your personal information.
PayPal Does Send Text Messages
It is possible to receive a text from PayPal. These are usually two-factor authentication messages containing a code for you to enter to log in to your account or other notifications. These will come from the phone number "729725" with no dash in the numbers (for U.S. only).
DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK if you receive a scam text message. The link could take you to a fraudulent website and even download malware or other harmful software onto your device.
If you do mistakenly click on the link, close the page immediately. DO NOT ENTER ANY INFORMATION onto the website. In most cases, the page will look like the PayPal login page, asking for your username and password combination so you can log in. If you enter your info, the scammer now has your login credentials and can access your PayPal account.
Check Your PayPal Account
If you're worried that your account will be disabled or that someone is using your account fraudulently, log into your PayPal account directly from PayPal.com or via the PayPal app. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK in the text message.
If there is an issue with your account, PayPal will send you a secure message or notification, which you'll be able to see once you log in.
The Aim of the PayPal Text Scam
The scammers' goal in this PayPal text message scam is to steal your identity and your money. They are banking on you entering your PayPal login credentials onto the fake website. With this information, they can:
- Access your PayPal funds
- Access your bank account information (linked to PayPal)
- Charge purchases to your PayPal account
- Log into your other online accounts that share the same login credentials
In some versions of this scam, the fake website may also ask you for your credit card numbers or bank account information. The scammers can commit credit card fraud and identity theft with that information in hand.
What to Do After Falling for the Scam
If you click on the link and enter your information on the fake PayPal website, it's important to act quickly to minimize the damage that can be caused. You should:
- Log in to your PayPal account and change your password immediately.
- Change the credentials for any other online accounts that share the same password.
- Check your PayPal account for any unauthorized transactions and report them to PayPal immediately (this includes unauthorized balance transfers).
- Monitor your connected bank account for unauthorized transactions regularly.
You can also report the scam and any losses to the authorities.
How to Block Scam Texts
One way to protect yourself from fake PayPal texts is to block them from reaching your inbox in the first place.
- Android: Block scam texts by turning on "Spam protection" within the settings of your Messages app.
- iPhone: There is currently no option to block scam/spam texts, but you can filter messages from unknown numbers. Unfortunately, this means your phone will also filter out texts from legitimate companies and people.
- Carriers: Ask your cell phone carrier if they have spam/scam blocking services that you can activate on your line.
- Apps: Some apps are designed to stop these types of scam messages and keep your message box clean.
Other PayPal Scams to Be Aware Of
If you're a PayPal member, you need to stay diligent in recognizing scams. Unfortunately, PayPal customers are a primary target for scammers looking to trick people into giving up their money and sensitive information.
Other common PayPal scams include:
- Phishing emails: You may, from time to time, receive a phishing email that looks like it's from PayPal, but it's not. Similar to PayPal scam texts, there are tell-tale signs of a fake email that you should look out for.
- Fake charities: Scammers will set up fake charities and ask for payment via PayPal. Before donating to any charity, be sure to research the organization and ensure it's legitimate.
- Shipping scams: Whether you're a buyer or seller using PayPal to complete your transaction, it's possible to be scammed. Sometimes, the seller fails to send you the item, and sometimes, it involves phishing emails that look like shipping confirmations.
- Overpayment scams: Overpayment scams involve someone overpaying you and then asking you to refund the difference. Usually, they will send a fake PayPal email to make you think you received the initial payment when you haven't.
Other Types of Scam Texts to Be Aware Of
Scammers are sending more and more scam text messages pretending to be from legitimate companies and banks:
- Capital One
- Citizens Bank
- Navy Federal
- Wells Fargo
Don't click on links within these texts or call the phone number listed. You should always find the genuine number for the company on their official website.