Can you tell the difference between these two email addresses?
The eBay seller they belong to couldn’t either, which is why they lost thousands of pounds to scammers who diverted funds to the second, false account.
Highlighted recently by The Daily Mail, this is a sophisticated scam which involves adding a second PayPal account which appears very similar to the genuine one – but where any money from a sale is siphoned off to a hacker account.
The criminals are clever, as they only target a small number of listings out of hundreds or thousands of listings so it is a scam that can remain undiscovered for some time. The scale of the crime is slowly emerging as more and more sellers are checking and finding that they have more than one PayPal account receiving funds.
It can be very difficult to spot this crime, and although eBay is refunding any fees linked to fraudulent cases that still leaves the seller out of pocket as they will not receive the sale funds. PayPal says that they have no way of knowing whether any PayPal account is legitimately linked to a particular eBay account.
eBay’s favourite solution is to encourage sellers to use two stage verification, but this can cause frustration and delays if the business is more than one person. eBay has been trialling multi-use access in the States, and this could be a useful tool, however at the moment it’s not available in the UK and still does not cover all the necessary options.
Our advice is to use Business policies and check regularly that only your approved PayPal account(s) are listed.
And the difference between the two email addresses? Although they look the same, they’re not.
The first has an ‘l’ (lower case L) and the second has an ‘I’ (upper case i) in the word “essentials”.
If you have enjoyed reading this post, check out my other insights into eBay by clicking here – eBay Blog
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