Remote access software is commonly used by scammers to commit fraud. Here’s how it was used to transfer £5,000 from a victim’s PayPal account.
A scammer transferred £5,000 from a victim’s PayPal account after logging into their computer using remote access software. They reported the fraud to their bank and to PayPal immediately.
The bank did a good job and stopped any money from leaving their bank account, but PayPal disagreed that it was a fraudulent transaction and sided with the scammer. PayPal then began to pursue them for the money, threatening the victim with debt collectors.
PayPal’s buyer policy promises it will investigate fraud on its platform and says that customers aren’t liable for unauthorised purchases. Yet it may have quickly jumped to conclusions in this case because the transaction was made from the victim’s usual device and location associated with their account. That’s because scammers had maliciously accessed their computer.
It appears PayPal misunderstood a tactic increasingly being used on its platform to defraud its customers and decided the transaction was authorised by the victim. We challenged PayPal that this was in fact an unauthorised transaction because the victim didn’t give permission for the payment.
The large payment amount was also uncharacteristic for the victim; a frequent user for more than 10 years. This, coupled with the fact that the receiving account was based in Australia, should have raised suspicions.
PayPal has since investigated further and said:
Unfortunately, as [redacted] had given the fraudster access to her computer and the PayPal security code, the fraudster was able to send a payment from her PayPal account. When she realised that this was a scam, she claimed that she had not authorised the resulting payment. We rejected the claim as she admitted that she had willingly provided her details to a third party. But we were able to recover the funds and return the money to [redacted] account. We are pleased that the matter has been resolved.
Remote access software scams
If you’ve been affected by fraud on PayPal and you’re struggling to get support, remember that the platform is also covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service, and you can escalate your case if necessary.
Have you been the victim of a remote access software scam? Did it involve PayPal, or another brand, such as Amazon? Let us know how the situation was dealt with in the comments.