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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: PayPal Scams

Updated: Tuesday, September 17 2013, 07:10 PM EDT
LOS ANGELES (Howard Ain) -- There are currently more than 130 million active PayPal users around the world as online shopping gets more popular every year. 

The industry is vulnerable to scams. 

A fake PayPal scam is costing consumers a lot of money and some big headaches.  As a young man in Los Angeles learned the new scheme is usually linked to online auction users.

Adam Perkins is learning an adult lesson at a young age.  The 15 year old decided to sell his laptop on eBay after he got a new ipad.  He listed the computer for $500 and got a buyer right away.

Perkins said, “I got an email from PayPal saying we have your funds.”

The buyer asked Adam and his mother to send the laptop immediately. 

Adam’s mom, Susan McConnell, said the buyer told them, “It’s my son's birthday and we'd love for you to overnight it.  So we broke our backs trying to send it.”

Fortunately they missed the Friday deadline for overnight shipping, which helped them unravel a massive scam.

When they took a second look at the notice, allegedly sent from PayPal, they noticed it was full of grammatical and spelling errors.

Susan McConnell said, “I was angry.  I spent 48 hours sleuthing.  I pretty much did everything I could because I was really determined.”

They immediately called Postal Inspectors who issued a mail recall and kept the package from being delivered.

Here's how the scam works: the suspect buys an item. 

Laura Carter, US Postal Inspector says, “She would use a buy it now option.  She would find out the sellers email address and send a phony email pretending to be from PayPal.”

The note would say the funds had been sent to the sellers account.  In reality, no payment was made.

The suspect ends up with the merchandise without ever paying a cent.

Inspectors recommend always logging in and checking your PayPal account.

Carter suggests, “See if there is anything from PayPal because they do send you an email to your account not just your email.”

Adam and his mom also learned a valuable lesson.

Postal Inspectors say be wary of a request for overnight shipping and any PayPal notices sent to your email account. 

The suspect in this case was caught.
Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: PayPal Scams

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