Be Careful on the Internet!
They are getting more sophisticated and official looking.
Yes, we all know there are scams and solicitations from all kinds of unknown people hitting our email boxes and other forms of communication on the internet.
Personally, I don't do any buying on the internet, unless it is something from EBay, Amazon, or one of the other sites that I regularly do business with and I have to initiate it all. As well as paying the bills, etc.
I see all the variations of the attempts, that are blindly sent each and every day, everything from EBay to the larger United States Banks claiming something is wrong with an account I have there (and I never ever banked with them) or from some other source such as Yahoo or Gmail, etc., etc., and if responded to, the attempt will be a fraudulent approach to have me pay something to them for their scam attempt.
Every one of my utilities, credit cards, and every one I deal with, repeatedly tells me, do not respond or click on anything that appears to be from them with notices to pay, unless it is something that I know what I used or bought and I initiated, etc.
As well, there are dead set give away factors, which the solicitations are from a fraudulent source. 1) The "From" email address, it is almost always a variation of the real company. Such as, Payments@EBay.Com, would be sent fraudulently as, Payments@e.Ebay.Com or something else, so if you click on to the reply to the header of your email, it will get bounced back to you and then you will go looking elsewhere within that email notice for another link to reply to. And that link will go to the scammer every time. There are different variations of what I said above, but the one I laid out is the basic set up.
Now, I get something over the weekend. Real strange, real good I must say. Only problem is, I switched my PayPal account which is now in another family members name as well as another email address than my original PayPal account was for many years.
You see with PayPal you can actually look up a user's name or email, that his account is under in order to process a request for payment or to send him money, etc. So the PayPal can be made out to your email or you name, does not matter. In this case I receive a processed payment, stating that I sent a payment in the amount of $108.91 USD to "Payment@Airbnb.Com" which is a new business website that lists private homes, apartments, bed & breakfasts inns, motel rooms extended stay, etc. And yes you can pay with PayPal as well. The bottom of it is styles after EBay, where is says Seller, Shipping Address, Note to Seller, Shipping Details, etc. Although I have not completed a transaction on Airbnb, I went on their website last week after my wife told me about it and she used it to book a room for a trip she is on, but all that was under another email address, nothing to do with me. But I did go on the website and checked it out last week.
So I get the above payment conformation, like I said and it looked pretty good and at first I am like, hey wait a second no way! I did not do anything. Then after starring at it, I realized, wrong email and my current PayPal is not under that email any longer, no personal name and if it was really Airbnb, they would have my ID you have to submit as well. Also the shipping address and seller and all that is from EBay types of sales, etc.
Then I noticed the TRANSACTION ID # with is a series of a long 20 capital letters with a highlighted link for itself, they assume I will click on. I did not, but it was very obvious.
So, I called PayPal and told them all this, they transferred me to their security department and went through it all again. They told me there is a scam going around that fits this and they told me to contact the case agent with the United States Secret Service that is working the case against these people doing this scam. I talked to the Secret Service Agent and he told me, if I did click on the link with those 20 capital letters, I would have been redirected and the PayPal order processed, etc. It listed the seller in Houston, Texas but that is all fraudulent anyway.
The Secret Service Agent says they go on the Airbnb website and place a fake ad for a rental property usually a super great deal in a large metro area with a real low nightly price to get you to click on it and they obtain certain info from your computer/browser, etc., of your interest. And that is the way it all starts. The Secret Service Agent had me connect to his computer and I granted him permission to pull whatever info he needed from mine in regards to my browsing the Airbnb website.
He also told me there is numerous scams of similar nature with all sorts of other larger commercial websites, and any website that forwards info back to the advertisers, of whom clicked on their ads or services can set something up like this.
PayPal is strict on their account set up and with their verification process and holding periods, etc., I see many problems for the people using PayPal to do this. Unlike Western Union and other money transfer services, one can continually use those services without shutdown. But hey, maybe there is ways around all that?
But I will tell you, there is great creativity in the new scams and it is getting more and more sophisticated.
Be careful what you click on, even if you are thinking you are just going to check something out, it might not appear what it seems.