BBB warns holiday shoppers about PayPal scam

By Greg Collier

PayPal is a great payment option when doing your holiday shopping online. You can put just the right amount of money into your PayPal account for the item you’re looking to buy and not worry about being overdrawn on your account. However, that’s not the only worry you should have when using PayPal. The Better Business Bureau has recently issued a warning about a scam that may not be new, but has picked up in activity during the holiday season.

This particular scam happens when you go to a retailer’s website that you may not be familiar with. You may have seen an ad on social media for the perfect Christmas gift. You may have seen an ad for a hard to get item at an unbelievable price. Even better, the retailer accepts PayPal for payment. The retailer sends you your delivery, but when you open the package, it’s not what you ordered. In fact, it’s some cheap trinket that may not even cost a dollar. The problem with this scam is that PayPal allows the scam to continue in many instances. The scammers have figured out that as long as something is delivered, in most cases, PayPal will side with the seller in a dispute, essentially giving the scammer your cash.

If you’re using a new retailer for the first time, look for reviews online. Also, do a web search using the retailer’s name and the words ‘scam’ or ‘complaint’. This should be a good indicator to see if the retailer is legitimate or not. You can also do what’s called a ‘whois’ search on the retailer’s web address. This kind of search often gives you an indicator of where the retailer is located. While it’s not a guarantee you’ll avoid a scam, it will let you know if a retailer is from overseas, which is best to avoid.

If you do end up being scammed through PayPal by an illegitimate retailer and PayPal sides with the seller, you can always file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau themselves. Again, while not a guarantee of getting your money back, PayPal has responded favorably to BBB complaints in the past.