Late yesterday I received a strange text from "PayPal" informing me that a payment for $999.99 had just been declined. It looks like we might have a new scam on our hands.
Here is a screenshot of the text:
While this is quite clearly a scam, it did give me pause. I had used PayPal to purchase something online roughly ten minutes before the text, but certainly not for that amount. And this is exactly how scammers get you - by sowing the seeds of doubt.
If you're ever unsure about a text or an email you get from someone unknown, or even a reputable brand, always err on the side of caution. Do some research online. And remember, never open hyperlinks in texts or emails from unknown senders.
Unsurprisingly, there is no record of the 'attempted transaction' in my PayPal account, so I reported the incident to Scamwatch. At the time of writing there were no similar incidents reported on the site. I also started Googling and checking social media to see if anyone else has had something similar happen to them recently.
So far I have found some similar incidents reported on Reddit, the most recent being in the UK from about a week ago:
While this isn't definitive proof (and I haven't found any Australian examples other than myself thus far), it's enough to convince me that someone has tried to scam me and that it's something to be looking out for.
If you have been the victim of a scam, head over to Scamwatch for advice and resources, and to report it.
We have reached out to PayPal for comment.