A local woman lost a large amount of money after falling victim to a scam. The 63 year-old Smithfield resident said she received an email from an individual pretending to be with PayPal. The scammer claimed PayPal had mistakenly deposited $5,000 into her account and she needed to refund the money immediately with gift cards.
The victim went to two different locations and obtained a total of $4,000 in gift cards. The victim provided the gift card numbers to the fraudster. Only later did she realized she had been scammed.
She reported the incident to authorities immediately. It’s unlikely they will be able to recover the money she lost.
According to PayPal this is a common scam where their name is used by fraudsters. PayPal says never send money or merchandise to anyone who hasn’t paid you or who wants a refund in gift cards. You can simply log into your PayPal account and see if you have received any money. The fraudsters also use bogus emails and links that look perfectly safe but if you move your mouse over the link you will see it takes you to another website.
Other PayPal scams include requests for your user name and password so that your account won’t be suspended. Others involve claims they paid you too much money for an item they purchased. They want you to mail the item and also send them a refund.