SCAMMERS have come up with a cunning new way to con people out of their hard earned cash.
It’s happening via PayPal and just in time for Black Friday and Christmas.
And worst of all it uses genuine emails to trick you.
Experts have likened it to the nasty romance scams, in that attackers abuse the system to schmooze you.
The fraudsters take advantage of PayPal’s money request service, which is meant to be for transferring cash when you owe a pal and they can nudge you.
There’s also a note section so the requester can say what they’re requesting money for – for example, the round of pints they bought you last night.
Scammers have seen an opportunity to use this as a way to make contact with people.
As experts at Sophos reveal, they can make a random request to your account.
This means you receive a real email from PayPal to gain your attention.
In the note section, they present themselves as a business with a free-call phone number.
It’s here that they hope you call the number to question why a request has been made.
During that call they’ll use their powers of persuasion to get money out of you some other way.
“The crooks have simply found a way to abuse PayPal’s free Money Request service to generate emails that really do come from PayPal, that include real PayPal links, and that use the message field in the request to give you an official-looking way to contact them directly,” Sophos expert Paul Ducklin explains.
“Just like a romance scammer schmoozing you at arm’s length on a dating site, and then convincing you to switch over to messaging them directly, where the dating platform can no longer supervise or regulate your interactions.”
Money requests are meant for individuals, not businesses – so if you see one acting like some sort of receipt, this should be an instant red flag.
If you receive one, you can do nothing and won’t lose any money.
But it’s better if you report the bogus request to PayPal, so the offending account is investigated, closed and you prevent someone from falling for it in future.
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