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PayPal Scam, any advice on dealing with PayPal?

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PayPal Scam, any advice on dealing with PayPal?

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TomB2TomB2 Forumite
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Yesterday my girlfriend fell for a quite clever PayPal scam....

She got a message from a Aunt on Facebook messenger, who she has received messages from before, and had previous conversations (the message continued on from a previous message thread, making it look 100% legitimate)  asking how she was, after a brief conversation they asked her if she had PayPal, as hers wasn't working.

The 'Aunt' had sold a camera on eBay and couldn't receive the payment as her PayPal wasn't working.  and asked if the buyer could send the money to my Girlfriend account, my Girlfriend agreed and sent the 'Aunt' her email address.

My girlfriend Received the money on PayPal (~£500), Transferred the money to her own Bank, then Transferred the money from her bank, to her 'Aunts' Bank Account.

The 'Aunt' then Said she had sold something else, and more money turned up in my Girlfriends PayPal account, and the 'Aunt' asked her to send this new money to a different PayPal address Via 'Friends and family'

This is where She got suspicious, I advised her to get in touch with her Aunt, by calling her, there was no answer. All of a sudden, the original sender of the money claimed back the original payment on PayPal. Plus the new extra payment, so my Girlfriends account now showed a balance of -£500.

She called PayPal who said they would look into it.  They said they would be in touch if they needed evidence. (she has screenshots of all conversations)
She called her bank, who said they couldn't do anything but they would support her anyway they could.

About half an hour later she received an email from PayPal saying the case wasn't covered by their protection scheme and she needed to pay funds in to her PayPal account to clear the minus balance. She wasn't asked for any evidence, just got a flat refusal. she tried to ring back, but their office was now closed...... typical.
My suspicion is that this is a standard response they send out hoping people wont fight the decision. Shes going to ring back today.

Does anyone have any advice on resolving this dispute? at the moment she isn't out of pocket, PayPal is. If this was a bank, she would probably be covered.

Could really do without this at the moment.
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Replies

  • edited 27 June at 9:22AM
    soolinsoolin Forumite, Board Guide
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    edited 27 June at 9:22AM
    Unfortunately this is a scam that seems to be growing, it is actually Facebook that is hacked not PayPal - that’s how the messages ‘came from’ the aunt.

    Paypal have no responsibility for refunding the payments and unless you can persuade them into a goodwill gesture I don’t think you will be seeing the money back. As you’ve already implied the bank have absolutely no involvement as the bank transfer from your GFs bank to the scammer was made voluntarily. 

    As it stands your GF has a negative balance on her PayPal, assuming she has cancelled any direct debit with her bank PayPal cannot get that money. The usual thing is that PayPal will harass her for the money and then pass it to a debt collector who will harass more, so just make yourself aware of the limitations that a debt collector has. In all my years using eBay and PayPal no one has yet shown any case where PayPal have taken someone to court for the debt, so it is just a case of avoiding the debt collectors for a while.

    Obviously your GF can never have a PayPal account again, anyone connected (ie if you are at the same address or have logged in from the same IP) are also at risk of having funds seized or losing their account. Whether not using PayPal and by default eBay is a problem is up to you and your GF.
    I'm the Board Guide for the Ebay Board , Charities Board , Dosh & Disability , Up Your Income and the Local MoneySaving-England board which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. However, do remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
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  • soolinsoolin Forumite, Board Guide
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    I'm the Board Guide for the Ebay Board , Charities Board , Dosh & Disability , Up Your Income and the Local MoneySaving-England board which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. However, do remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
    New to Forum? Guide
  • TomB2TomB2 Forumite
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    soolin said:

    As it stands your GF has a negative balance on her PayPal, assuming she has cancelled any direct debit with her bank PayPal cannot get that money. The usual thing is that PayPal will harass her for the money and then pass it to a debt collector who will harass more, so just make yourself aware of the limitations that a debt collector has. In all my years using eBay and PayPal no one has yet shown any case where PayPal have taken someone to court for the debt, so it is just a case of avoiding the debt collectors for a while.

    Yes this was our last resort plan, although I'm assuming that it will effect her Credit Score? not that its much of a threat to us at the moment.

    We talked to a friend about this last night, and she owed PayPal a similar amount, and just ignored it, eventually the debt collectors lost interest, My Girlfriend is the sort of person who gets very anxious about threatening letters though, so im not sure how she would cope with it. I will have a research the limitations of debt collectors, as this is something I don't know much about.
  • soolinsoolin Forumite, Board Guide
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    TomB2 said:
    soolin said:

    As it stands your GF has a negative balance on her PayPal, assuming she has cancelled any direct debit with her bank PayPal cannot get that money. The usual thing is that PayPal will harass her for the money and then pass it to a debt collector who will harass more, so just make yourself aware of the limitations that a debt collector has. In all my years using eBay and PayPal no one has yet shown any case where PayPal have taken someone to court for the debt, so it is just a case of avoiding the debt collectors for a while.

    Yes this was our last resort plan, although I'm assuming that it will effect her Credit Score? not that its much of a threat to us at the moment.

    We talked to a friend about this last night, and she owed PayPal a similar amount, and just ignored it, eventually the debt collectors lost interest, My Girlfriend is the sort of person who gets very anxious about threatening letters though, so im not sure how she would cope with it. I will have a research the limitations of debt collectors, as this is something I don't know much about.
    Unless they go to court they cannot affect your GFs credit rating. However there is a chance they will do more than just write letters- it all depends on area, in some cases the debt collector has turned up on the doorstep or made phone calls- so just be warned.

    It might also be worth tactfully speaking to your GF about basic internet security, this is an odd scam to fall for and requires a great deal of trust. How you can approach that carefully I don't know, but she may well now be on a scammer 'will fall for scams' list and may well be targetted with other different scams. Online it is easy for younger people to feel invulnerable , the truth is that it is easier to mug someone online than it is on the street. 


    I'm the Board Guide for the Ebay Board , Charities Board , Dosh & Disability , Up Your Income and the Local MoneySaving-England board which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. However, do remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
    New to Forum? Guide
  • GabbaGabbaHeyGabbaGabbaHey Forumite
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    soolin said:

    Obviously your GF can never have a PayPal account again, anyone connected (ie if you are at the same address or have logged in from the same IP) are also at risk of having funds seized or losing their account. Whether not using PayPal and by default eBay is a problem is up to you and your GF.
    There's also the moral dimension. Neither the Bank nor PayPal have done anything wrong here, so to withhold the £500 from PayPal is both fraudulent and just plain wrong. Just because you might be able to get away with it doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do.
    Philip
  • TomB2TomB2 Forumite
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    soolin said:

    Obviously your GF can never have a PayPal account again, anyone connected (ie if you are at the same address or have logged in from the same IP) are also at risk of having funds seized or losing their account. Whether not using PayPal and by default eBay is a problem is up to you and your GF.
    There's also the moral dimension. Neither the Bank nor PayPal have done anything wrong here, so to withhold the £500 from PayPal is both fraudulent and just plain wrong. Just because you might be able to get away with it doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do.
    i think the moral dimension is a problem for the scammer. and i doubt they have a problem with it. I'm sure PayPal can take a £500 hit... unfortunately we cant. 
  • GabbaGabbaHeyGabbaGabbaHey Forumite
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    TomB2 said:
    i think the moral dimension is a problem for the scammer. and i doubt they have a problem with it. I'm sure PayPal can take a £500 hit... unfortunately we cant. 
    I really don't understand that mindset - the scammer stole £500 from you, so it's OK for you to steal that £500 from PayPal? That makes you just as bad - and just as much of  a thief - as the original scammer.
    Philip
  • TomB2TomB2 Forumite
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    That makes you just as bad - and just as much of  a thief - as the original scammer.
    your entitled to that opinion, but i completely disagree.
  • edited 27 June at 3:39PM
    soolinsoolin Forumite, Board Guide
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    edited 27 June at 3:39PM
    TomB2 said:
    That makes you just as bad - and just as much of  a thief - as the original scammer.
    your entitled to that opinion, but i completely disagree.
    To be fair at the moment you are probably both feeling aggrieved and angry at being suckered in like this but the truth of the matter is that the money will be paid for somehow - and it is the users like the rest of us that ultimately pay.

    Yes you will probably walk away from this scot free but there are 2 things you seriously need to consider. Firstly, if at some point in the future your GF, you or someone paypal consider connected to you may suddenly find funds being removed from a paypal account for this debt . Perhaps in a year or two someone will persuade your GF that she can easily open a new paypal account in a fake name, or such like as you decide to sell a few things to make holiday money or something and get a nice little .pot of money which will be taken. Remember as well that you won't have access to paypal - forever, so want to buy something safely on facebook to have it posted- private seller can't take cards but offers paypal and you get stuck with using a nice unsafe, scammable bank transfer.

    You've also got the issue that your GF may well be targeted now and next time you might not escape without losing a great deal of money. 
    I'm the Board Guide for the Ebay Board , Charities Board , Dosh & Disability , Up Your Income and the Local MoneySaving-England board which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. However, do remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
    New to Forum? Guide
  • GabbaGabbaHeyGabbaGabbaHey Forumite
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    TomB2 said:
    That makes you just as bad - and just as much of  a thief - as the original scammer.
    your entitled to that opinion, but i completely disagree.
    It's not an "opinion". PayPal are entirely blameless is this matter, and yet you are trying to defraud them of £500. That puts you on exactly the same level as the original scammer.
    Philip
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