We tackle how to recognise the signs of a Dubai PayPal scam so you can avoid them and protect yourself
29 January 2020| Last updated on 4 February 2020
UAE residents beware - PayPal scams are circulating in Dubai
PayPal is generally seen by many UAE residents as a safe and secure way to pay for goods and services online, as well as transfer money to family and friends. If you're not comfortable with inputting your credit card details when paying for a good or service online, PayPal functions as such as you will only need to share your email address with other people.
Overall it is convenient and safe, so if you list your items for sale in classifieds websites and a potential buyer offers to pay using PayPal, the transaction will be secure - right?
Usually, it is. However, some scammers are able to make it through. Recently, scammers are targeting classified ads in Dubai, even the ExpatWoman Classifieds to find unsuspecting sellers.
An ExpatWoman user was almost a victim of a PayPal scam online.
The scammer contacted her about a classifieds listing, offering to transfer money through PayPal but outwardly refusing to meet in person, give their name, and contact details (phone as well as email).
UAE residents are advised to always use caution when selling items online. Here are some warning signs that you may be dealing with a PayPal scammer:
- The buyer keeps refusing to meet in person due to a number of reasons - they're travelling, working abroad, busy with work, etc. Classifieds are always intended for local pickup.
- The buyer asked for you to send the item to their "shipping agent".
- The buyer is very eager to pay without prior discussion of the price.
- The buyer is offering to pay more than what you listed it for.
- The buyer asked you to send money through other money transfer services to their "shipping agent", such as Western Union.
- The buyer only communicates through messages, never through a call.
If you received an email that looks like it's from PayPal that says you received money, look for these signs to see if the email is a fake one:
- The email doesn't address you with your first nor last name.
- The email says the money you received is "on hold" and will ask you to take action, such as sending money through Western Union or click a "tracking number".
- The email says you received the money, but you don't see the payment in your PayPal account.
Things to avoid with emails that seem like it's from PayPal:
- Click links within the email.
- Reply back to it
If you notice any of these red signs, you must end communication with the potential buyer as it is better to be safe than risk your account.