Christmas is the season of goodwill and charity but it can also work out pretty expensive. And if you fall victim to a fraudster, it could be even costlier.

At this time of year, scammers can start to increase the number of fake emails they send. If you’re stressed by buying presents, putting up the decorations and organising the dinner, you could be more likely to fall for one.

Don’t worry – if you know what to look out for, you shouldn’t end up out of pocket this Christmas. Find out how to avoid a PayPal scam email so you don’t lose out.

Why it’s Christmas for fraudsters

Scammers know that at Christmas, you’re more likely to buy a lot of presents online. If you’ve shopped on eBay or some of the other big sites, the chances are you’ve used PayPal.

That’s why fraudsters start to send a lot of fake PayPal emails around Christmas. They know that people will already expect to receive PayPal emails at this time of year. So, when one drops into their inbox, they might not look too closely at the details before clicking onto it.

Even if you’re usually savvy at recognising email scams, you might be more likely to fall for one at Christmas. If you’re not concentrating, you might not realise that a seemingly innocent PayPal email is fake.

But if you click on a link on the email, it will drop you onto a fake site. If you log in to your PayPal account on this page, this will give fraudsters access to your details. They can then use these to steal money from your PayPal account.

Tips to avoid a PayPal scam

Some PayPal email scams can look just like the real thing, meaning they can be difficult to spot. There’s no need to panic though – here are our top tips to avoid a PayPal scam email.

  1. If you get any emails from companies, you should always check the sender’s email. Click on the email address at the top of the message to make sure – fraudsters can change the sender’s name to make it look legitimate.
  2. Don’t ever send money to someone you don’t know. If an email asks you to send cash manually because the payment system isn’t working, just delete it.
  3. Check to see what any emails address you as. Usually, fraudsters will only have your email address, not your name. So, if an email starts, “Dear…”, it’s probably fake.
  4. Use strong passwords for websites like PayPal. And if you think someone could have access to your details, make sure you change them.
  5. Never give out any personal information by email. If a message appears to be from PayPal but it asks for your bank details, it’s a scam.

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