PayPal is nowadays one of the most popular online money transfer platform and it allows you to send and receiver money online from friends. Since this platform is well known around the world, it becomes a huge target for scammers online.
Many people in the US get scammed everyday on PayPal by individuals that they do not even know. Victims of scams often asked if it is possible to get your money back from PayPal if scammed? Infact there is no exact answer to this question since it can work out for one person but does not work out for you.
Even though PayPal has a good reputation, they do not always give you your money back. If you have been scammed, I will show you in this article how to get a refund from PayPal.
PayPal is a well known processor and the fact that they offer protection against scams, accounts a major part of its popularity. Any time you order an item and do not receive it, you can contact PayPal and request a refund.
But is necessary you have in mind that PayPal do not always provide refunds and this is particularly problematic because many people buy items using PayPal believing that they have more protection than they actually do.
If you are a PayPal user, and you think you have been scammed, then this is how to get your money back from PayPal.
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What is PayPal Scam?
PayPal scams are scams carried out through fake emails or links to a fake PayPal site that asks you to enter personal payment details. Scammers often use social engineering tactics to persuade users to click fake PayPal links and enter their credit card details or send them money.
Does PayPal Refund Scam Victims?
Incase you purchase an item using PayPal and the transaction turns out to be fraudulent, PayPal will often return your money. But it is necessary to have in mind that this is only possible when certain conditions are met.
Anytime you think that you have been a victim of scam, the first thing you need to do is to check if the payment is still pending. Provided that the payment has not yet been picked up by the seller, you can obtain a refund automatically by simply pressing " Cancel Payment. You can learn more on how to cancel a PayPal payment.
Obviously, malicious individuals will not allow you to do this as they will claim the money as soon as it is made available.
Incase the seller has already claimed the money, you should contact the seller before taking any action as it might some times also be a misunderstanding. You should not really contact until you are sure that it is a scam.
If the seller is not willing to give you back your money, you will then have to involve PayPal and try to make use of PayPal's Purchase Protection.
What is Purchase Protection on PayPal?
When you purchase something using PayPal, the transaction is covered by PayPal's Purchase protection. Under this policy, it is stated that PayPal promises to refund your money if you do not receive the item that you ordered or if the item that you receive is significantly different from what was advertised. This policy also protects all users against charges that did not make.
This policy frequently offers a complete refund to con artists' victims. The issue is that PayPal evaluates each situation individually to see whether the policy is applicable.
If a fraud victim raises a disagreement, the merchant will typically provide an alternative account. Additionally, PayPal doesn't always support the right side.
This implies that PayPal might support the vendor and refuse to offer any aid, even if you are definitely the victim of a fraud.
PayPal’s Purchase Protection claims that the buyers are protected if:
- They notice charges on their account that they didn’t make
- They never receive the item they purchased
- They receive the order, but the items are notably different from the expected
In such cases, PayPal guarantees that you will receive full reimbursement, including any shipping costs. You must file a dispute within the mentioned 180-day period, or within 60 days, in the case of unauthorized charges.
ALSO READ: How To Get Money Back From Venmo If Scammed.
Worst PayPal Scams You Need to Know About
There are some PayPal scams that are rampant and which you should be aware of. Below I will list you some of these PayPal scams.
1. Advanced Payment or Fee Fraud
This is a type of PayPal fraud where by fraudsters promise their victims with money or services in return for a small upfront payment. As soon as you pay them, the promised good never arrives or the scammers keep on triggering you to pay more money.
The classic version of this scam is someone that claims to have access to a large inheritance and all they need is your help (and money) so that they can gain access to it.
Lately, scammers have been sending emails that look like legitimate PayPal emails showing money being deposited into your account. But there’s “security issues” to resolve or “charges” that need to be paid first.
How to Identify a PayPal Advance Fee Scam
- You receive an unsolicited message, email, or text offering an enormous payoff that you weren’t expecting.
- You’re asked to pay a fee or provide private information in order to receive a large amount of money or some other reward.
- The messages contain spelling and grammatical errors or other signs of a phishing scam.
2. Phishing Emails that Look Like they Are From PayPal
There are some phishing attacks where by scammers pretend to be from a company or organization that they know you trust. This features among the most common types of scams nowadays.
There are a few different types of PayPal phishing scams but most of them follow a similar pattern.
Scammers first construct emails that appear to be coming from PayPal. To make the email address ("From name") appear to be from PayPal or a similar sender, such as "PayPal Resolution Center" or "PayPal Customer Support," they will even utilize "domain spoofing."
In this message, you will see urgency or maybe threatening language to push you to the act as quick as possible. Some of the most common examples of PayPal phishing schemes include claims such as:
- You’ve received money on PayPal and just need to click “confirm” to get it. But when you click on the link, you’re taken to a phishing site that steals your PayPal login information.
- Your PayPal account has been hacked and you need to “verify” your identity by entering your email, password, and other sensitive information. But any information you provide goes straight to the scammer.
Some of these phishing emails might even go as far as infecting your device with malware - which are malicious software that once in your device, will look for sensitive information and then sends it back to the hacker.
How to Identify a PayPal Phishing Scam
Closely check the full email address — not just the display name. If your email provider hides the email address, hover over or tap on it (on a mobile device). If it doesn’t come from an official “PayPal.com” email address, it’s a scam.
Look for a lack of personalization. Phishing emails often start with “Dear user” or “Hello PayPal Member. Emails from PayPal will use your full name or business name.
The message includes a suspicious link, unknown attachments, or urgent language claiming that you owe money or your account is going to be suspended.
3. Invalid Shipping Address Scam
The delivery address on the order is used by scammers as the shipping address. The shipping business marks the address as undeliverable since they are unable to locate it.
The con artist then gets in touch with the delivery service and gives them a new address for the package delivery. However, the con artist can claim that the package didn't arrive with PayPal because the delivery provider had previously declared it as undeliverable.
How to Identify an Invalid Shipping Address Scam
- Check that the shipping address is valid before sending out any purchases.
- Ask your shipping company about rerouting deliveries. Find out if customers can change their shipping address and if you’ll be notified if that happens.
4. Phishing Websites that Look Like PayPal Login Pages
Here, fraudsters design fake PayPal login pages that are very similar to the real one and almost impossible to detect the difference between the fake and real one. They use the same design and also use domain names that look like they could possibly be related to PayPal.
But if you enter your account information and password on that page, you will end up with an error screen and while you will be trying to figure out what is the issue, scammers will be emptying your account or logging you out of of it.
In the recent few years, phishing sites like this have become a hard not to crack. The Anti-Phishing Working Group detected over 200,000 unique phishing sites in September of 2021 alone.
How to Identify Fake PayPal Login Page
The domain name isn’t PayPal.com. Always remember that PayPal doesn’t use region-based domain names such as PayPal.co.uk. They’ll reroute to your local version based on your IP address.
The website doesn’t have an SSL certificate. If the site doesn’t have a lock symbol near the URL, it’s not an official PayPal site.
5. PayPal Text Message Scams
A more recent scam involves fraudsters sending fake text messages claiming to be from PayPal to “verify” a payment that you didn’t make. The message will say you only have 30 minutes to dispute the charge and ask you to click on a link (which is shortened or scrambled so that you don’t know where it leads).
But if you click on the link in the message, it will either take you to a fake PayPal login page or infect your device with malware.
How to Identify Fake PayPal Text Message Scams
- You get an unsolicited text message claiming that you made a PayPal payment.
- The message creates a sense of urgency or threatens that you’ll lose money if you don’t act quickly.
- The message contains a link that isn’t from paypal.com.
6. Sellers Asking You to Use "Friends and Family" Payments
PayPal only provides buyer protection for transactions that are marked as purchases; it does not apply to communications you send to friends and family.
On websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, con artists frequently try to persuade you to use "Friends and Family" by saying that it reduces fees (which it does) and is safe (which it isn't necessarily).
However, if you acquire the item in this manner, the vendor can vanish without providing it to you, leaving you with no other remedy except a credit card chargeback.
How to Identify "Friends and Family Scams"
- The seller wants you to transfer money tagged as “Friends and Family” to avoid fees.
- You’re unable to meet up in person and inspect the item — this is especially suspicious if it’s a high-value or in-demand product.
7. Charity scams that collect donations through PayPal
One of the most insidious PayPal scams uses fake charities to hijack donations from generous individuals.
For example, scammers might set up a fake GoFundMe or PayPal donation link in response to a natural disaster or trending event. They’ll even create a fake charity website or scam Instagram page to make the lie believable.
How to Identify a Fake Charity PayPal Scam
Do your research before donating to any cause. Check the charity on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch. You can also Google the charity’s name + scam/fraud to see if anyone else has complained about them.
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Can I Get Money Back on PayPal if Scammed?
Yes you can get money back on PayPal if scammed and if your Payment is still pending, you can cancel the payments as soon as you realized that its a scam. Below I will show you the various ways through which you can claim your money on PayPal if your get scammed.
According to PayPal, You have 180 days from the payment date to open a dispute. In a dispute, you can message the seller through PayPal to try to resolve any issues. If you cannot resolve the dispute, you have 20 days to escalate the dispute to a claim. In a claim, we investigate the case and decide the outcome.
How to Get Money Back From PayPal if Scammed
There are many ways that allow you to get your money back on PayPal when scammed and below, I will discuss some of the most effective ways to get your money back from PayPal.
1. Use Purchase Protection to Request a Refund
When you buy an eligible item, PayPal’s Purchase Protection will fully reimburse you if the order doesn’t arrive or the product doesn’t match the seller’s description — as long as your account and the transaction fall within their guidelines.
In order to use PayPal's Purchase Protection, you need to open a dispute with the seller. You can do this in the following steps:
- Open the Resolution Center.
- Log in to your PayPal account.
- Select Report a Problem.
- Select the transaction that you want to dispute.
- Provide a reason for the dispute.
- Open a dispute.
The seller will determine what happens next. You might be able to obtain your money back right away if they don't want to contest your request. In any other case, you must wait 20 days before a PayPal staff will review your claim and issue a decision.
You will be required to present evidence of what happened. Similar questions regarding the seller's version of events will be asked. After that, PayPal will decide whether you get your money back.
2. Use Chargeback to Get Money Back From PayPal
You could use chargebacks to obtain a refund if you paid using a credit card or bank account on PayPal.
Send a chargeback request to your bank and let them know about the fraudulent transaction. When a chargeback request is made, PayPal temporarily blocks the seller's account balance while waiting for your bank to make a decision.
The majority of banks and credit card issuers demand that you start the chargeback procedure within 60 days of the transaction.
How to Cancel A Pending Payment If You Think you’re Being Scammed
If your transaction is listed as “pending” (meaning your payment hasn’t yet been processed), you can cancel it and get a refund.
Here’s how to cancel a pending payment:
- Go to your PayPal account summary.
- Find the payment (it should say “pending” and “[user] hasn’t accepted yet”).
- Click “Cancel” under the payment and then “Cancel Payment.”
Unfortunately, most scammers will accept your payment right away.
You can also checkout the complete guide on how to Cancel Payment on PayPal.
What to Do If You've Been Scammed While Using PayPal
In case you think that you've been scammed, it's important to contact the seller to make sure and then open a claim with PayPal. If the scam is obvious, you will usually get your money back from PayPal directly.
If PayPal doesn't side with you, and you used a bank card to make your purchase, you should then contact your bank. While PayPal is well known for sometimes siding against buyers, most banks are willing to provide a refund to any customer that appears to be legitimate.
How To Avoid PayPal Scams
Now that you have seen the some of the most rampant types of PayPal scams, let us see how you can avoid these PayPal scams at your own level.
Do not Pay Fees for Payments of Prizes - You should never send money in order to receive a gift or "free money" especially if you are been asked to pay in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Meticulously check the details of every email that claims to come from PayPal - Every email you receive from PayPal, it is necessary to make sure that the sender is using an official PayPal.com email address. Aside from this, you can look for other signs such as poor grammar and spelling.
Secure Your PayPal Account with a Strong Password and 2FA - You can make use of a password manager that helps you keep track of your passwords and also implement a 2 Factor Authentication that will further protect your account.
Do not Click on Links or attachments in Strange emails or texts - Always login to PayPal through the official website rather than through the links you receive in emails or text messages. Login to PayPal via those links in the emails you receive will lead you to their fake PayPal login Page.
Connect Your Credit Card to Your PayPal account instead of your bank account - Your credit card offers purchase protection and chargebacks, whereas money stolen from your bank account is essentially lost.
Only Used "Friends and Family" tag with your Friends and Family - Making use of this tag with people that you do not know, deprives you from PayPal's Protection in case you get scammed.
When Selling on PayPal, do not give refunds to different accounts or skip signatures - PayPal scams can also target sellers. Ensure that you are protecting yourself by requiring delivery confirmation and refraining from issuing refunds for "overpayments."
Final Thoughts: How to Get Money Back From PayPal If Scammed
PayPal is a secure way to send and receive money.
While no payment platform can claim to be 100% secure, PayPal spends millions on digital security measures to protect its users — from SSL data encryption to stop hackers from intercepting payments to fraud monitoring and security keys (their version of two-factor authentication).
Being the victim of fraud is always preferable to prevention. Consider Aura's digital security solution, which can warn you to risks and take action to avert problems in almost real-time, for increased protection.
With proactive security that secures your devices, protects you from online hackers, and protects your identity, Aura provides coverage for your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get scammed through PayPal?
Yes, you can be scammed on PayPal. While there are many advantages to using PayPal as a secure platform, the reality is that fraudsters target PayPal users for various scams.
How do I claim money back from PayPal?
First, contact the seller for a refund. You can open a dispute in the resolution center if the seller doesn't respond or refuses to issue a refund. You have 180 days from the transaction date to file a dispute.
Can you get money back from PayPal if you get scammed?
If you are charged for a transaction that you didn't make, let us know within 60 days, and we've got you covered. Purchase Protection covers all eligible purchases where PayPal is used, as well as payments made through our website.
Can I dispute a PayPal charge with my bank?
PayPal encourages users to resolve issues through the Resolution Center. However, you can dispute charges through your bank, resulting in a chargeback.