Common PayPal Scams Targeting Sellers (How to Spot & Avoid Them)

As a seller, PayPal offers a reliable payment platform that allows you to receive payments anytime anywhere. However, like any other mode of financial transaction, PayPal is also vulnerable to scams.

In the following write-up, we are highlighting some of the common ways in which a buyer can scam a seller through PayPal as well as the ways to avoid such scenarios. Let’s take a look.

Common PayPal Scams Targeting Buyers

Common PayPal Scams Targeting Buyers

PayPal is a convenient and reliable payment platform offered by millions of sellers who are offering their goods... Read more

Open a PayPal account from the buyer’s link

If you’re a seller but don’t have a PayPal account, it may happen that a buyer will approach you and tell you that they would like to buy your goods but they will make payment through PayPal. They might even add something extra incentive – like bulk purchase – to sweeten the deal.

However, when you’ll tell them that you don’t have a PayPal account, they will send a link to open a new PayPal account.

What happens behind the scene

Actually, the buyer has no interest in buying something from you. They just want you to open a PayPal account using their provided link. This is actually a phishing attack, as this link is a fake one that redirects you to a fake PayPal sign up form.

All the information you’ll enter in this form will be directly sent to the scammer. This includes your email address, home address, phone number, credit card details, security question, password, and many other types of sensitive information.

fake PayPal sign up form

The scammer can use all of this information to hack your other accounts, including financial and social media accounts. They can also use the card details to make purchases or scam others.

How to protect against this scam

As a rule of thumb, never open or access an account given to you in an email. Always go to the official website and sign up or log in from there. Other than that, the phishing website URL will also not be from “”, it could be similar such as “” which is obviously a fake.

And if you have seen PayPal’s actual sign up page before, then you’ll notice some changes in the design as well.

Simply don’t take this bait and open a PayPal account from the official website and continue the transaction (if the buyer still wants to buy, that is).

Sending purchased item to a different address

The buyer will tell you that they want to buy the item for a friend and want to send it as a surprise gift. Therefore, although they will make the payment through their PayPal account, but the item needs to be delivered to a different address.

What happens behind the scene

PayPal takes no responsibility for delivery of goods that have not been delivered to the address registered with the buyer’s PayPal account. Expecting that you don’t know this information, the buyer will tempt you to make the delivery to a different address (may even add extra money).

delivery to a different address

When you will deliver the item, the buyer will open a dispute that they never received the item. Now even if you provide shipping confirmation receipt, PayPal can’t do anything about it as it has not been shipped to the address registered with PayPal. The buyer will get their money back, and you just lose your sold item.

How to protect against such scam

It is clearly written in PayPal security guidelines that you should never deliver an item to an address other than the one it is registered with on PayPal. So simply declining such requests is enough for protection.

Buyer overpays

While buying some goods from you, the buyer will pay some extra money. Afterwards, they will message you that they accidentally sent you extra money and you should wire transfer (or use any other unsafe method of payment) to send that money back to them.

buyer sends extra money
What happens behind the scene

The buyer might be using a hacked PayPal account to make the payment. When the actual owner will find out about the money transfer, they will ask PayPal to return the full amount.

PayPal will return the money to the PayPal account owner and you will get your item back. However, you’ll lose the extra money that you sent to the scammer.

The buyer can also do this from their actual PayPal account, and later open a dispute and claim that they don’t want the item for any reason and want to return it for a refund. They will get their full money back and the extra money you wired will also be there’s.

How to protect against such scam

While doing a PayPal transaction, stick with only PayPal in the whole process. PayPal can only offer protection for transactions that have been made using its platform. For such requests, you should refund the full amount and ask them to send the correct payment again.

You might also be interested in letting PayPal know about this and request them to handle the situation.

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Buyer’s shipping company will handle item delivery

The buyer would like to buy your item and want it delivered to the address registered with their PayPal account, but the delivery will be handled by the shipping company of the buyer. They may add that this will help them save money or ensure safe delivery.

Delivery will be handled by the shipping company of the buyer
What happens behind the scene

When you let the buyer handle the shipping, the buyer basically gains full control over the shipping process. They can easily reroute the shipping to a different address other than the one registered with PayPal. Afterwards, they can claim that the item wasn’t delivered to their registered address so they would like a refund. And you will have no ground to prove it.

How to protect against such scam

As a seller, you should take full responsibility for the payment and shipping. Don’t take favors from the buyer or do anything that doesn’t come under PayPal or your control. Clarify the buyer that the PayPal will handle the payment and you will handle the shipment.