Police are urging PayPal users to take particular care when giving their details out – especially if the request comes via Facebook Messenger

Fraudsters have been targeting users and adopting the alias of a friend or family member to request to use their PayPal account to receive funds and/or to pay a bill.

The request is that the victim receives the funds into their own PayPal account, then, after transferring it into their own bank account, they forward it onto an account controlled by the fraudster.

If the victim agrees the payment is transferred into their PayPal account but, after the money is transferred out, the initial transaction is reversed leaving the victim suffering a financial loss.

To guard against becoming a victim of this type of fraud, the Force has issued the following advice:

Verify financial requests: Be wary of unusual messages asking for assistance with financial transactions. Even if the message appears to be from someone you know and trust, you should check it’s really them that sent the message by calling them or speaking with them in person.

Never respond to any requests to send money, or have money transferred through your account, by someone you don’t know and trust.

Protect and secure your important online accounts by using a strong separate password and, where available, turn on two- factor authentication (2FA).

If you have made a payment: Inform your bank, or payment service provider, such as PayPal, as soon as possible. They can help you prevent any further losses. You should also monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.

Kay Bainbridge is the Force’s Victim Care and Crime Prevention Officer,

“Fraudsters will try various different ways to try and con people out of their hard earned money or other goods but by following some quick steps you can make their life a lot more difficult.”