Because payments on P2P payment sites often come from and go to a variety of sources, it may be easier for you to fall for a scam on one of these sites. However, how can someone actually scam you on one of these sites? Here are 5 of the most common scams that you might see on a P2P payment website like PayPal, CashApp, or Venmo.
1. Account Suspension
This is a type of email phishing scam where a scammer sends you an email claiming that your account has been suspended. Typically, they’ll provide a link where you can log in. However, if you log in with that link, they’ll just steal your account information. If you receive one of these messages, always navigate to the website and log in directly.
2. “Claim Your Payment”
Typically, P2P websites don’t require that you log in to claim a payment. If someone else sends you a payment, that payment will just automatically send. If you receive an email claiming that you have to log in to claim your payment, log into the website directly and check if there are any payments that are listed as “pending.”
Overpayment scams have been around long before P2P websites, but they’ve become significantly more common with the rise in P2P payment sites. With an overpayment scam, someone sends too much money to pay for something, then requests that you send back the overpayment when you send them the item. Once they’ve received the time and the “overpayment,” they’ll lodge a complaint with the P2P website, which means that you no longer have the item, the original payment, or your overpayment “refund.”
4. Advance Fee
An advance fee scam is also one that’s existed since before P2P websites, but that has proliferated dramatically ever since. A scammer will promise that a payment is available for you, but you have to send some money to the scammer first, often claiming that this will “prove you have a valid account.” Once you send the money, you’ll never get the large payment promised.
5. Fake Charities
Scammers really have no limits, and it’s not uncommon to see someone advertise a “charity” that actually doesn’t exist or isn’t connected to a specific account. If you’re hoping to donate to a charity using a P2P website, make sure you do some research to determine both that the charity is actually real and that the P2P account you’re sending money to is their real account.
These, of course, are not all the scams that you may run into on P2P payment websites. There are all sorts of other reasons that a payment or payment request may not be what it seems. However, it’s crucial that you know some of the most common scams so that you can point out other scams as well. With this information, it’s much easier for you to know what a scam looks like, so you can avoid all P2P payment scams.