Watch CBS News

Scammers Target PayPal Users With Bogus Emails; 'It Just Blows My Mind That Everything Was Fake'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's a name we've come to know and trust, but PayPal's reputation is taking a hit, as criminals are upping their game in a new twist to a ugly scam that's robbing millions from consumers.

If you use PayPal, CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker tells you what you need to watch out for.

It's the number one fraud; con artists pretending to be PayPal are sending fake emails like the one Indica Mosley and her brother, Charles, received.

"It just blows my mind that everything was fake," she said.

The Mosleys had posted 23 pairs of sneakers for sale on the Bump! App.

"People pay money for retro sneakers," Indica Mosley said.

It didn't take long to attract a buyer, who convinced them to avoid the $180 Bump! fee, and sell directly through PayPal. Then they got an email notification saying "You've got money."

"It says, 'Hello, Charles Mosley.' It has his name on it. His email. 'You've got money.' It just looks like emails from PayPal," Mosley said.

The email included the blue PayPal logo, no spelling errors, the correct size font, and the kicker:

"Even if you click on 'security' from the email, it takes you to the PayPal website, and it shows you everything that they have on their security," Mosley said.

But the scammers aren't perfect. The biggest red flag is the fake email has the address. If it's really from PayPal it would be from

The FTC suggests another way to protect yourself:

"Log into your PayPal account, and make sure the money is actually there," said FTC Midwest Region Director Todd Kossow.

In addition to not getting the money for the sneakers, the Mosleys spent more than $100 in FedEx fees sending the sneakers to a house in Crete.

A young man who answered the door said he's not surprised someone is accusing someone in the home of stealing $3,000 worth of sneakers.

"It's none of your business," he said.

Mosley contacted PayPal but, "they told us there's nothing that they can do to help us, because it didn't come from PayPal."

A PayPal representative confirmed the email sent to Mosley was fake, and referred us to the security section of PayPal's website, but when we asked about scores of scammers sending consumers fake emails, and how it could be hurting the company's reputation, no answers.

Mosley did file a police report in Baton Rouge. So far, there have been no arrests.

Steve Bernas, CEO of the Better Business Bureau, said the scam is becoming more widespread.

"It's in the millions of dollars and it's growing," he said. "Our scam tracker, which keeps track of all the scams across the country, is showing an upwards trend  in complaints of scams of that nature."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.