Steps to avoid and detect the eBay PayPal email payment address scam

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There is nothing you can do to avoid becoming yet another victim of the eBay PayPal email payment address scam. Sellers on eBay don’t have the tools to monitor the PayPal email payment addresses on their listings to protect themselves. However there are some steps you can take to try and stay safe:

Steps to avoid and detect the eBay PayPal email payment address scam

  1. Beware of phishing emails

    There are only two ways your account can be compromised and fall victim to the eBay PayPal email payment address scam – directly through methods such as clicking on a link in a scam email or indirectly if eBay’s servers are compromised or an internal eBay employee is complicit in the fruad. We would expect that from the cases already that if it was an eBay employee eBay would have discovered this by now and similarly if their servers were compromised. Be wary of clicking on links in emails.

  2. Two factor authentication

    Use two factor authentication to access your eBay account. This sounds simple if you are a one person business, but if you are a larger business and need to give multiple employees access to your account then each and every one of them could be compromised if they click on the wrong email link.

  3. Business rules

    If you already use business rules for your PayPal email payment address. This should set your address for all your listings but there’s still nothing to stop a scammer changing your business policy and if they do it won’t generate an alert.

  4. Precautionary bulk edit PayPal payment email addresses

    Bulk change your PayPal email addresses. There is a practical limit to how often you can do this and if you’ve been compromised there’s nothing to stop the scammer going back into your account to change them again.

  5. Reconcile sales

    Reconcile every single sale from eBay to PayPal. In practical terms this might be possible if you only have a few dozen sale a day, but if you have hundreds or thousands of sale a day it’s simply not practicable.

  6. Get eBay to run a check

    Phone eBay support and ask for a report detailing the PayPal email payment address for all your listings. If all 200,000 business sellers in the UK do this it will cause an enormous amount of work for eBay, but if will give you certainty that for you, at least at the moment, that you’re not being scammed. Or, you’ll find a dodgy email address to which your money is being diverted.

8 Responses

  1. Linnworks and a few other order management systems have quite a good checker to identify sales where the paypal address doesnt match the one in the ebay config as well.

  2. Hi All – Linnworks will flag an order in its software when it gets an order where the ebay paypal doesnt match what you have defined in a configurator – its not a stand alone tool.

  3. If you only have one PayPal account then as mentioned recently the easiest way is to check your Payment policies every morning to make sure that a different one has not been added.
    Not everyone is signed up to the business policies – if you are then the link is on the left of the Account page. If not, it can be difficult to find the opt-in page, but here are instructions:
    Once signed in, this link should take you to the opt-in page:
    Agree to the policies (they can be very useful generally) and then View Payment policies and you can see straight away if there is more than one.

  4. Thanks, Chris & Chris, I will check them out.

    Hi Laura, I use One PayPal Business account only, and usually I added the PayPal email address to every listing. I prefer to use one email address linked to all listings rather than adding the email address to individual listings, manage one email address setting for all listing. eBay Business Policies sounds easy to do that.

  5. We got done by this scam to nearly £2.5k over a course of a couple of months. It was low value high volume items. It was picked up on a Paypal reconciliation but took some digging to get to the bottom of it. eBay were saying it was Paypal and vise versa. The scammer had changed 1 letter in the email address, that even when I confirmed the email over the phone (to eBay & PayPal) I was told it was the same as ours. So it was a time consuming task to break down and get clarity on. We have reported to action fraud who haven’t got back to us – which was to be expected. PayPal weren’t interested in helping and couldn’t give us any information due to data protection (of the scammers account!).
    We have since built in a check with our API to pick up on any changes in email addresses.


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