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Susan Tompor: PayPal loophole makes it easier for scammers to trick you into fake goods

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

A new scam involving fake tracking codes and delivery mix ups is hitting online shoppers this holiday season, according to an alert from the Better Business Bureau.

"Con artists are exploiting a PayPal policy and deceiving online shoppers into paying for goods that don't exist," according to the BBB.

Here's how: The consumer shops online, finds a deal on a brand name gift. You decide to buy and the site instructs you to pay through PayPal, which should provide extra security.

After the checkout, you get a confirmation email that contains a tracking number from UPS, FedEx, or another shipping service.

Again, all seems legitimate so far.

But no package arrives. So after a few days, you log onto the site and see that your package has been delivered. OK, you ask, where? It's not been delivered to your house.


"You call the shipping company, and they confirm that the package was delivered ... but to the wrong address," according to the BBB.

Yet this isn't a simple mistake. You'll soon discover that the e-commerce site doesn't even list any contact information or no one will return your calls or emails.

"Some scam victims report filing a claim with PayPal because their protection promise says you can open a dispute if your order never arrives," the BBB said.

"But because the scammer technically shipped the package and the tracking number marked it as delivered, PayPal rejected their claims," according to the BBB.


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