How To Avoid Common PayPal Gift Card Scams How To Avoid Common PayPal Gift Card Scams

How To Avoid Common PayPal Gift Card Scams

Learn How To Recognize PayPal Gift Card Scams

PayPal is one of the top-rated online payment services for a reason—it is easy to use, and it has global coverage with millions of users, especially in the remote work community. For all its advantages, the system is not without fault. One of the users’ biggest complaints is that they frequently get targeted by fraudsters.

In this article, we’ll show you how to recognize common PayPal gift card scams.

There seems to be much confusion about what a PayPal gift card even is, so we'll give you a thorough breakdown of everything you need to know. You’ll learn what steps to take to protect yourself and how to use gift cards online safely.

We’ll also show you why Mode Mobile’s products are the best and safest method to earn valuable gift cards and cash you can add to your PayPal balance.

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Free PayPal Gift Card Scams

PayPal users are a frequent target of online frauds and scams. Whether you're using PayPal to do business, make purchases, or send and receive payments, scammers will attempt to find a way to trick you. The most common method they do this is by promising you free PayPal gift cards.

The only way to protect yourself is to understand that PayPal gift cards don't actually exist in a typical sense. There is no plastic card or eGift card code with PayPal’s logo and some money on it that you can redeem like you would a Walmart gift card, so don’t trust free code generators that promise you such free rewards.

There are several types of prepaid or gift cards people refer to as PayPal gift cards:

  1. Prepaid gift cards you can link to your PayPal account as a payment option—including the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard
  2. PayPal Cash Cards
  3. Conventional gift cards you can buy from PayPal Gifts using the funds in your PayPal balance

For more details, consult the table below:

Payment Method


Used As

Prepaid gift cards

Visa, Discover, Mastercard, or American Express prepaid debit cards

A payment method that can be linked to a personal PayPal account

PayPal Cash Card

Debit card

A payment method that draws funds from a personal PayPal account

Gift cards

Physical or electronic gift cards of different denominations

An alternative pre-loaded form of payment for purchases at select stores

The Most Common PayPal Scams

Aside from fraudsters offering you nonexistent PayPal gift cards, there are many other ways they'll try to swindle you.

Phishing Email Scams

Some scams rely on emails informing you that there is something wrong with your PayPal account. These malicious emails contain links that lead to phishing websites that resemble the official PayPal login page.

If you open the link from such an email, you will be asked to enter your PayPal username and password. Once you hit the Log In button, the scammer receives your sensitive information and can access your PayPal account, transfer funds, or withdraw money.

Don't blindly trust each email you receive. If you get an unusual email seemingly from PayPal, open PayPal's official website in a separate tab—the chances are that you'll spot small design differences between the two sites that will immediately point out the true nature of that suspicious email.

Source: Pixabay

Fake Reward Scams

Another way in which scammers use emails is to trick you into clicking on suspicious hyperlinks. They'll send you an email that says you won a reward of sorts or another deal of a lifetime. The hyperlink will then take you to a website where your computer or phone may get infected by malicious software.

To protect yourself, you should always inspect the links you are asked to click on in emails. You can do so even without clicking on it—hover over the link, and the full URL will be displayed in the lower-left corner of your screen. Compare it with the URL of PayPal’s official homepage and delete the email if they’re not the same.

Another way to recognize the scam is to look at the quality of the email text—an official email from PayPal is unlikely to feature typos, grammatical errors, or a grainy, low-resolution logo, which many scammy emails contain.

Fake Charity Scams

Fraudsters are not beneath playing with your emotions. They'll use whatever means necessary to try to get your money, including bombarding you with moving images of sick children in war zones.

Fake charities are not an uncommon phenomenon, especially following a recent tragedy. The people behind them even set up websites with contact information to make the entire fraud appear that much more legitimate.

A great way to check whether the supposed organization is real is to try to find it on websites such as Charity Watch and Charity Navigator.

Source: Stillness InMotion

Advanced Fee Scam

You've probably heard of this fraud by now—or at least its most popular version involving a Nigerian prince. The scams that fall under this category are designed to trick you into sending a relatively small amount of money with the guarantee that you'll receive a much larger sum in return.

Swindlers typically use email as their preferred medium for this type of fraud, sending you a message with the subject title in all caps that claims you're due an inheritance. The inheritance amount always includes numerous zeros and commas, and they promise that you can receive it as soon as you wire the sender a small advance fee—in this case, via PayPal.

Most email service providers nowadays filter out such emails long before they reach you, though a few always manage to slip by. Remember that no legitimate lawyer will ever ask you to provide them with an advanced fee in order to collect your inheritance or another reward. And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Source: Mode Mobile

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How To Report a Scam

If you wish to report potential fraud to PayPal, you may do so via email. You'll find the address, as well as other relevant information on PayPal's Security Center page.

PayPal asks that you forward the emails you find suspicious unaltered. If you're targeted via a text or a phone call, you should take a screenshot and forward the images to PayPal.

If you notice unauthorized activity on your account, proceed as follows to report it:

  1. Go to the Resolution Center page
  2. Click on Report a Problem
  3. Select the transaction you want to dispute
  4. Click on Continue
  5. Follow the instructions to complete the process

Source: Liza Summer

How To Protect Yourself Online

There are a few rules of thumb you should stick to so you can protect yourself from PayPal scams and other types of online frauds:

  • Never wire money to someone whose identity you can’t confirm
  • Always try to check the identity of the person who contacted you if possible
  • Compare any phone numbers from the message to the official number of PayPal’s customer service or the help center number to see if they match
  • Contact PayPal using the official website to check whether it was their employee who got in touch with you
  • Never list someone else’s address on your PayPal account

While PayPal will probably always be a source of inspiration for scammers, that doesn't mean you should live in fear or stop using its services. You shouldn't even give up on the opportunities to earn free gift cards or a nice bonus to your PayPal balance. The internet has plenty of legitimate and risk-free methods and platforms where you can get free cash or prizes, such as social media giveaways, free gift card apps, or survey websites.

You don’t have to look further than Mode Mobile’s products. If you want to earn free rewards consistently without compromising your cyber security, look no further than our two complementary products—the Mode Earn App and the Mode Earn Phone.

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Source: Mode Mobile

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Featured image source: Mikhail Nilov

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