Scammed with PayPal in 2023 (How to Stay Safe!)

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Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be financial advice and is for informational purposes only. aTimeforCash is reader-supported. We may earn commissions if you buy through our links at no cost to you.

As of 2020, PayPal had a reported 377 million active users.

With so many PayPal users, scammers are bound to appear and try to take advantage of the unsuspecting.

So how do you keep safe when using PayPal? What should you do if you do get scammed while using PayPal – can you get your money back?

If you’re a PayPal user, then this info is very important to be aware of.

In This Post:

Can I Get Scammed With PayPal?

Yes, you can get scammed with PayPal. But to be fair, it’s not PayPal’s fault.

PayPal is a great tool for selling your products online and making it easier for customers to pay you directly without using a credit card. However, it’s also a great tool for scammers because they can get away with stealing your money if they know how to do it right.

Here are some of the PayPal scams;

  1. Paypal shipping address scam – PayPal scams involve purchasing items and then the addition of a second payment to cover costs associated with shipping. The scam usually goes like this: after making the initial purchase, the victim is told they will receive their order within a particular number of days; however, often, nothing happens. Sometimes there are no orders placed at all, and in other cases, orders may be delivered without any products or components. In some cases, PayPal victims have even received bills in their mail that appear to be from credit card companies requesting money they did not authorize.
  2. PayPal Overpayment scams – Here scammers will arrange a transaction with a victim for a product and then send over an amount of money higher than what was originally agreed upon. The scammer hopes that the victim will send back the difference, but instead of sending over the rest of the money, they will keep it.

    In addition, following the seller’s return of the overpayment, the fraudster filed a complaint with PayPal, alleging that their account was hacked and never intended to send the payment to the seller at first. Even if the seller hasn’t shipped out the items purchased yet, PayPal compensates the whole initial payment to the scammer, and the seller still loses the “overpaid” amount they gave back.
  3. PayPal account takeover scam – In this scam, scammers take control of an existing PayPal account and use it to make unauthorized purchases. For example, they may take advantage of temporary lapses in security or otherwise gain access to an account’s password and then buy products using the victim’s account name.
  4. Fake PayPal accounts – Scammers will open up fake PayPal accounts and then send a message to the seller to get them to send money. They may even go so far as to purchase the victim and then claim that they did not receive it.
  5. PayPal auction scam – Scammers target victims selling items on auction sites like eBay in this scam. The scammer will offer to pay for the item using PayPal, but the payment never comes through. The seller will eventually realize that their account has been suspended due to non-payment, but it is too late, and they have already lost their money by that time.
  6. Fake PayPal invoice scam – Scammers set up fake websites that appear legitimate to trick victims into creating an account on them so they can pay for services or products via PayPal. However, when they try to make a payment, they are often tricked into sending over their login information and other personal information, which the scammers can use to steal money from people. They will also try to trick you into giving away your personal information like your name, email address, and other important pieces of data to make a payment.

How Do I Avoid Getting Scammed on PayPal?

Sellers can avoid PayPal scammers by following either of the following tips;

  1. Never give out your personal information to an untrustworthy site, even if they claim to be PayPal.
  2. Always use a secure Internet browser, and ensure you have the latest anti-virus software installed on your computer.
  3. If you see a notification from PayPal asking you to update or confirm your account information, do not click on it – instead, log into your account directly using the official PayPal website and make any necessary changes there.
  4. If you are selling something on Craigslist or another similar site, meet up with the buyer in person and only use cash when making a transaction – never use PayPal for these types of transactions because it is too easy for the buyer to scam you.
  5. One should be on the lookout for customers with valid credentials since they present as friendly at first. However, after a certain point, it becomes clear that these people are looking for ways to scam the customer. To prevent being scammed, one should always look for customers with valid credentials and ensure that their appearance or behavior does not misrepresent them. Insist on signature confirmation.
  6. Check the email address, not the sender name, after getting an email from PayPal to ensure it’s genuine. Open a new tab and log into your account to double-check the details if you’re unsure.
  7. Purchases will only be shipped to the address specified in the payment details.
  8. If you join PayPal’s Seller Protection Program, you’ll be covered against certain types of fraud.
  9. Always use a secure connection when doing financial transactions online, such as logging into your PayPal account or paying for something using PayPal. It is done by looking at the URL in your browser’s address bar and verifying that it begins with HTTPS:// (the “s” stands for secure).
  10. PayPal is not your information broker. If you receive an email from PayPal that asks for your info to process a payment or refund, please do not comply. PayPal does not store this data, and we cannot access it without explicit permission from the user.


  • If you get an email from PayPal asking for your password or account information, contact PayPal immediately.
  • If you receive a call from someone saying they’re from PayPal, hang up immediately and call the Customer Service Center. If you doubt where the phone number came from on your caller ID, look up.
  • If you receive a suspicious email, forward it to
  • If you suspect that your PayPal account has been compromised, log in to your account and change your password immediately.
  • If you are not sure whether an email is legitimate or not, contact PayPal at

Therefore, many scam instances occur since sellers are unaware of the scamming signs; hence scammers take advantage of it.

Can You Get Your Money Back From PayPal if You Get Scammed?

PayPal has buyer protection to get your money back if you are a victim of fraud. However, there are some conditions that you need to fulfill before you can claim your money back.

A) 180-day refund policy

You should report the incident to PayPal within 180 days after the transaction date. Because most payments are handled quickly, this option may not be accessible when you require it. PayPal recommends contacting the seller directly and requesting a refund in these instances. When you access the disputed purchase on the Summary page, you should be able to find the seller’s email address. You should note that this option will be available as long as the transaction is in the Pending status.

B) Purchase protection

PayPal Purchase Protection will agree to refund, and buyers are protected only if;

  • You are the original buyer of the goods or services.
  • You notify PayPal within 180 days of the purchase date, and the item is in its original condition.
  • A seller has not defrauded you.
  • The item was not delivered to you, or your payment has been canceled.

You notify PayPal within 180 days of the purchase date, and the item is in its original condition. You comply with all of PayPal’s refund policies. For example, you must return any defective goods at the time of purchase, even if your reasons for returning them are out of our control (for example, if they were damaged by shipping).

PayPal may require you to provide proof that: You were the original buyer; You paid for the item in full; The item was what it appeared to be when it was shipped, and You did not receive what you ordered or received a product that was materially different from what you ordered.

C) Chargeback protection

Chargebacks occur if you have a problem with your payment or believe that your payment was fraudulent, you can file a chargeback with the card issuer or bank.

It would help if you allowed PayPal to resolve the issue before filing a claim.

If PayPal can resolve the issue, you may be required to pay for any costs incurred by PayPal due to our investigation.

If they cannot resolve the issue, PayPal may reverse any payments made on your behalf and recover from you any amount it has paid to the seller.

D) Dispute Resolution

 If you have a complaint about an item purchased on eBay, open a case in Resolution Center and describe your problem. PayPal will work with both parties to try to find an amicable solution. You can also contact eBay if you’re not satisfied with how we handled the situation.

If you have a complaint about an item sold by one of our sellers, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the seller directly so that we can assist them in resolving your issue.

E) Limitation of Liability 

PayPal is committed to providing great value to our members, and in return, they have confidence that they can use PayPal to buy and sell confidence. However, when you use PayPal, you agree that they are not responsible for any losses or damages resulting from:

  • The unauthorized or fraudulent use of your account by someone else;
  • A computer virus;
  • Prepaid cards
  • Theft, destruction, or loss of your physical card or mobile device with your PIN code;
  • Technical failures related to the Card network, payment processor, or your online services provider;
  • Errors in transmission over the internet or electronic communications network;
  • Any damage to your computer equipment or other property on which you install PayPal from whom you received such software.

Can You Get Scammed on PayPal Friends and Family?

Yes, you can get scammed on PayPal friends and family. People use the same name and email address for their PayPal accounts and friends and family. PayPal is not illegal, but you need to be more careful when dealing with this kind of transaction.

 It is important to note that because PayPal considers Friends and Family transactions non-refundable, scammers rely on keeping your money and will try to persuade you to choose this payment method.

Can You Get Scammed on PayPal Receiving Money?

Yes, you can get scammed on PayPal receiving money. When your friend or relative transfers money to your PayPal account, you can get scammed. It happens because you are dealing with a scammer using the same name and email address for their PayPal account and their friends and family. 

Can You Get Scammed by Giving Someone Your PayPal Email?

Yes, you can get scammed by giving someone your PayPal email. You can get scammed when dealing with a scammer who uses the same name and email address for their PayPal account and their friends and family.

One should be careful when giving out personal information, especially if it is something like a PayPal email or credit card number. It’s important to be very careful about who you give your money to and how you store your payment info.

Can You Get Scammed Selling Through PayPal?

Yes, you can get scammed selling through PayPal. When your friend or relative sends you a check and asks you to deposit it into your PayPal account, you can get scammed. In overpayment instances, a fraudster may purchase a merchant’s PayPal account greater than the amount of the item they want to buy. They will then call the vendor, clarify that they overpaid, and request that the remaining sum be refunded also known as the overpayment scam.

Can I Get Scammed Through a PayPal Invoice?

Yes, you can get scammed through PayPal invoices in various ways, which are;

  1. Fake invoice from a supplier – This is the most common way of getting scammed. The fraudster creates an invoice and then sends it to the merchant’s PayPal account. In this case, the fraudster will create an invoice that looks real; however, you will never hear from them again once you pay.
  1. Hacked email that sounds convincing – This is another common scam when the fraudster sends you an email from a business or company claiming to have sent you a payment through their PayPal account. The fraudster will claim that there has been a problem with your address and request that you provide them with your bank account information so they can make the payment. Once you provide this information, they access your emails and get to know when you are expecting to receive an invoice from your business. When you receive this email, it is a scam alert!
  2. Spam email – This scam is most commonly used when the fraudster creates an invoice but does not send it to you. Instead, the fraudster will send you an email with a link to the invoice. This link may look real and convincing, but your computer will be infected with malware if you click on it. The malware will then collect your personal information and files from your computer and send this information back to the fraudster. This technique of sending emails is known as a phishing scam.
  3. New and potential clients – Scammers will use an email to send you an invoice and ask you to pay the invoice amount. They will also hijack a supplier’s mail and change the bank account number for payment on a PDF invoice. This strategy cannot raise any red flags for you and the supplier. 

This strategy isn’t always effective, especially if you constantly transfer to the regular supplier account, but it’s particularly useful with new providers, which scammers are always on the lookout for. Therefore, to avoid invoice fraud, here are some tips;

  1. Be skeptical of new leads or potential clients.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication on your email account to avoid hackers accessing your account.
  3. If you have to pay an invoice, always pay by credit card or bank transfer. It will make it harder for scammers to get their hands on your money and avoid getting caught.
  4. Do not click on any links in the email and do not open attachments from unknown senders.
  5. If you are still concerned that the invoice is legitimate, then contact the supplier directly and ask them to confirm that they sent you the invoice
  6. Have funds in your bank accounts ready if you need to make a payment.

Can You Cancel a PayPal Transaction if Scammed?

Yes, you can cancel a PayPal transaction if scammed within 180 days. You can cancel a PayPal transaction if scammed by following these steps:

  • Step 1: Log into your PayPal account and select “View” from the drop-down menu under “My Account”
  • Step 2: Select the transaction that you wish to cancel
  • Step 3: Click on “Cancel this order.”
  • Step 4: Enter your reason for canceling the order. Then click on “Submit.”

How to Contact PayPal Support

If you have a question or query about PayPal, then you can contact PayPal Support by:

Contact on message through these steps;

  • Step 1: Go to the PayPal website and log in to your Account
  • Step 2: Click on “Contact Us” at the bottom right corner of the home page
  • Step 3: Enter your question or query in the box provided
  • Step 4: Click on “Submit”

You can also contact them by sending an email, live chat, or phone call.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, PayPal is a safe, easy-to-use, and reputable online payment system. PayPal is one of the most trusted online payment systems. PayPal is always there to help you out in any possible way. Many scams on the internet try to take your money from you, and PayPal’s security measures ensure that it won’t happen. 

It would be best if you understand PayPal takes measures to protect your personal information from unauthorized access and use. In addition, PayPal uses various security technologies, including two-factor authentication, encryption, and discarding of expired or invalid cards to help maintain a safe environment for your transactions.