17th May 2021

Phoney PayPal texts target public

A new text scam is attempting to gain people’s PayPal login details so they can be used by fraudsters.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
The public should verify with PayPal directly before engaging with any message

CTSI has received evidence of texts to members of the public which purport to be from the online payment platform PayPal.

The texts mimic official messages informing the recipient that someone has logged into their account. They then ask the recipient to tap a link to a bogus website which requests login details, supposedly for verification and “(to) secure your PayPal account”. This information is then sent to scammers, who may gain access to the PayPal account.

Use of online payments such as PayPal has risen as part of the boom in online shopping during the COVID-19 lockdown. This text scam is the latest in a long line of similarly themed scam texts, including bogus supermarket delivery texts, fake bank security messages, and phoney Royal Mail shipping fee texts.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “Many millions of people now use PayPal as a payment method and the surge in online shopping due to COVID-19 restrictions make this scam particularly dangerous in its potential impact.

“The public should verify with PayPal directly before engaging with any message, and they should forward scam texts to 7726, a free reporting service run by Ofcom. The public should reports scams such as this so that authorities can get a complete picture of the scale of this problem.

“So many people are bombarded by scam messages at this time, and we must inform our friends, family and social groups about this to mitigate the impact of these scams.”

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