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Clever new scam targets PayPal users in Idaho

I have always considered myself intelligent, internet savvy and even street smart. After last week, I'm reconsidering all three of these preconceptions.

When I looked at my phone, I found an email from PayPal saying someone had requested a payment of $798.77. I didn't recognize the name, but I also knew it was probably a fake email, so instead of clicking the link, I opened my PayPal app. Much to my surprise, the request was genuine.

Just because someone demands money doesn't mean it's a legitimate claim. This could be someone accidentally asking the wrong person for money, or someone trying to see if you'll fall for the bait and send them money. I'm smarter than that so I called the customer service phone number who told me to contact if I didn't know the person requesting the money.

I didn't notice that the full name of the person requesting money was “John Sxxxh.” If you do not know this person, call customer service at 1-888-284-1xx6 to report this claim as fraudulent.

When I called the number, the customer service representative said he would text me a code to resolve the fraudulent claim. I received a text message from PayPal and read him the code. He politely thanked me and said he would send me an email with a link to a report I needed to file.

After receiving this email, I clicked on the link which took me to the portal to report fraudulent claims. When I clicked on the website, software quickly downloaded to my computer. He hung up and I knew immediately that I had been spoken to.

The code I read to him was PayPal's code to reset my password. He needed it to change my password so only he could access my account and send money to himself. I literally helped him rob me and also gave him access to all of my personal information on my computer.

As it turns out, scammers don't just scam older people. You may also be scamming someone who I used to think was pretty smart and well versed in such things.

Be careful. These clever scammers are targeting Idaho PayPal users like you.

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Gallery photo credit: Kyle Matthews

Anna Harden

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