Today I want to talk about another scam I’ve been seeing happen quite a bit with PayPal.

There was a specific example just recently where somebody reached out to me on my Facebook chat.

I kind of helped them through this live and made sure that they did not fall prey to this scam, so I decided to do a video and make sure everybody can learn from this as well.


How Does this PayPal Scam Work?

This scam is related to the PayPal Friends and Family method of making payments.

To set that up and help understand why this works and how the scammers are able to utilize this, let’s talk about the different types of payments.

With PayPal, you can send or receive a payment for Goods and Services, or you can pick Friends and Family.

When you go into PayPal, if you manually send a payment, it will give you the option of Goods / Services or Friends / Family, and you can choose either one.

Obviously, if you are paying for something like a physical good or digital good, or a service of any kind, then you should choose Goods and Services.

Friends and Family is really used for exactly that; Friends and Family.  If you’re just trying to exchange cash between people that you actually know, and you are not really buying anything. 

Maybe you’re just splitting dinner or paying somebody back for something that you owe them directly, then you can send cash with PayPal Friends and Family and there won’t be any fees taken.

So that’s where one of the kickers of this whole thing comes in.  The scammers like to use that, and we’ll come back to that. First, let’s again split between these two examples.

PayPal Goods and Services

With Goods and Services, if you’re the seller, you’re going to have PayPal Seller Protection. 

As long as you follow standard procedures for that (see our other videos) you’re going to have protection as a seller when you receive a payment for Goods and Services.

You’re going to pay a fee for using PayPal to process that payment to generate revenue.

Now if you’re buying something with PayPal, and again, you’re using Goods and Services, you will be covered by Buyer Protection.

If you’re shopping on a website, buy now button, checkout system, etc. it will automatically be processed as Goods and Services. 

The only way you can do Friends and Family is to manually send the payment and specifically choose that type.

Again, though, if you’re buying something online or paying for any good or service, you will have this buyer protection in place.

So there are protections on both ends, and the seller would pay a fee for using the system to process those types of funds.

PayPal Friends and Family

Let’s take a closer look at Friends and Family again.  The idea is that you are paying people you know for something that is not a business transaction of any kind.  

That’s why there are no fees as long as you pay with cash (ie. PayPal funds or bank funds).  Along with that, though, there are also no protections for buyers and sellers!

If you send somebody money Friends and Family, and you’re expecting to get something delivered, and that “thing” does not get delivered; there’s nothing you can do about it!  

You cannot file a dispute.  The policies state this clear.  That’s not what this type of payment is intended to be used for.

Even if you did receive your item, and PayPal found out that you’re doing this, they could close your account and kick you off the platform because it’s against their policies and procedures.

How Do Scammers Use this to Their Advantage?

I was talking to somebody just recently telling me they were going to buy a Fortnite account. 

I see this a lot, where they were chatting this person online and had even become pretty close friends with them.  They offered proof that they owned the account, and were ready to sell it to them.

However, they insist that the person send the payment with Friends and Family.  The reason they will give is because it can save them on the fees, so they could potentially sell the account a little bit cheaper. 

They also might claim that you’ll get access to the account faster because there will be no hold on the funds.

So this person had this all setup and was about to do it.  I kept telling them “no, just don’t do it!”

If you’re going to buy something like that, that person should send you a PayPal invoice.  You get the invoice, and on the invoice it says exactly the line items of what you are purchasing.  When you pay that invoice, you’ll have Buyer Protection behind that.

You could even pay with a credit card as the funding source, and get some extra protection that way.

But when you pay Friends and Family, you don’t have any protection. 

So, in this case I kept telling the person to ask the seller to send an invoice.  Have them setup a pay button on the website, or send a basic money request. Or even send the money directly, but make sure to do it with Goods and Services, and type in exactly what you’re buying.

That way if anything goes wrong you can follow the buyer protection procedures, and in most cases you can get your money back.


After a lot of back and forth I was able to get this person to see that with the seller offering to sell the account, but refusing to send an invoice, refusing to do a button, and kept insisting to do Friends and Family…he backed off.

I would highly recommend that for anybody else in a similar situation.  If you are EVER buying something, don’t use Friends and Family!

Only use that if you are dealing with actual friends or family and you’re just covering each other funds.  

This happens with a lot more than Fortnite accounts, by the way.  I see this all the time with general merchandise (ie. watches, shoes, purses, software, etc.)

Basically, anything that somebody tries to sell you, if they insist on using Friends and Family, that is a giant red flag.  Don’t do it!

If you follow that rule you’ll be just fine, and you’ll get all of the protections whether you’re on the seller side or the receiver side. 

Again, make sure to follow the standards there and you’ll be good to go.

I hope this guide was helpful!  If so, please share it with your true friends and family so that we educate everybody. 

That’s the best way to fight these fraudsters!

Need Additional Help?

Schedule a live meeting with Drew Angell, PayPal Certified Developer, and get all of your questions or concerns answered.