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New Scam Targets Pay Later Users: What You Need to Tell Your Employees

Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc

A new Pay Later scam targets users with fake invoices that deliver funds directly to thieves. Those who have linked a Buy Now, Pay Later account to their PayPal may be at greater risk.

What Is the Pay Later Scam?

Scammers harvest emails to their mailing lists, then create fake invoices like the one below:

Buy now pay later

The invoice appears to come from a legitimate source. The link points to PayPal and seems legitimate because it is a real PayPal link. Scammers created the phony invoice, complete with the stolen Best Buy logo, to trick careless users into sending them money. These scam emails often arrive late in the afternoon or early in the evening, when you may be tired and less focused on specifics. If you were expecting a Best Buy invoice and saw a payment due at 7PM or 8PM, would you click the link? If it pointed to PayPal, would you be more likely to click it? Pay Later scammers are counting on that.

How to Avoid the Pay Later Scam

To avoid the Pay Later scam, remember one of the most basic rules of cyber securityNever click on links in emails. Always go to a company’s website, log in to your account (preferably with two-factor authentication), and complete payments manually. If you want to help PayPal crack down on these scams and encourage them to remove tools that allow scammers to create these fake invoices, you can report it to the PayPal Security Center.

As an extra layer of security, try to avoid associating Pay Later services, such as Affirm, Afterpay or Sezzle, with PayPal accounts or bank accounts. The extra time it takes to put in your information and authorize a transaction, versus simply clicking a link, may be the time you need to recognize a fraudulent invoice. Also try to avoid paying invoices late in the day or when you are distracted.

Inform Your Employees About Pay Later Scams

If you own or run a business, you should be in the habit of reporting new scams to your employees for two reasons:

  1. Scammed employees are unhappy employees, and unhappy employees are less productive. It can take days to undo the personal financial damage from a scam. Set up a program to provide regular emails to your employees when new scams get reported, both business and personal.
  2. Once someone interacts with a criminal, more criminals show up. Scammers are always hunting for “hot” targets. What begins as an individual attack can escalate into phishing attacks that jeopardize your cyber security.

Should I Tell My Customers About Pay Later Scams?

Imagine the reaction of someone victimized by a Pay Later scam. They are going to blame themselves, but they may also blame everyone else involved, including the business that was spoofed in the scam and the platform that processed the payment. That’s a small amount of damage to a company’s reputation, but those small amounts add up over time.

Larger companies may lack the means to notify every customer of every scam and often are not aware that their identities have been spoofed. Companies should take steps to be both proactive and reactive when scams like this appear.

Proactive means informing your customers at the point of sale and in every email that you will not send them links to pay their bills. (If you are sending links to pay bills, please stop.) Remind customers to always go to your website and log in to complete a financial transaction.

Reactive means alerting customers when scams like Pay Later reach your desk. If customers start complaining about fake invoices or invoices they believed that they paid, it’s time to investigate the source and take action. Reach out to impacted customers and request copies of the emails they received, then send an alert to your customers informing them of the scam and reminding them not to click links in emails. This step may take a little time to complete, but the goodwill it builds will justify the cost.

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Robert - some people will always try to find a way to take our money. It’s sad but true. I know I’ve seen emails like that and delete them but will also try to report them. 
Thank you!

Nov 17, 2022 11:30 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Thank you for sharing the information. Wishing you continued success.  Have a wonderful day and sell a house.  bill


Nov 17, 2022 11:43 AM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Hello Robert Siciliano thank you for sharing of a new scam targets pay later users.

Nov 17, 2022 02:55 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Excellent idea Robert!  I do like to spread the word and I appreciate you bringing it to our attention.

Nov 18, 2022 08:56 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

I get these every day, texts and emails. As fast as i block they are under a new number or name

Nov 18, 2022 09:41 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Robert,

Thanks for sharing this with the AR community.  I have learned much and always check with my husband when unsure.  I seem to get at least 3 to 5 of these emails a day so I just delete them. 

Nov 18, 2022 12:10 PM
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

I love the warnings in this post, as I know many seniors may fall into these scams. I have seen several of those invoices from Pay Pal, but I ignore them. Then I go directly to Pay Pal to confirm. Thanks for sharing. 

Nov 18, 2022 01:11 PM
June Piper-Brandon
Coldwell Banker Realty - Columbia, MD
Creating Generational Wealth Through Homeownership

Every day there are more and more opportunities for those with ill intent to try to defraud us of our hard-earned money, we will soon be back to a cash-only society

Nov 18, 2022 01:22 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Thanks for the warning! You are a wealth of information!

If Scammers could only put their devious little minds to good use, they could earn a legitimate earning! 

Nov 19, 2022 12:28 AM
Michael Cole
CPG Tours - Corona, CA

Thanks for sharing. I get these kinds of emails daily. And it's amazing how legit some of them can look. But I always report them, in hopes that maybe they can be stopped.

Nov 19, 2022 07:35 AM
Robert Siciliano
IDTheftSecurity.com Inc - Boston, MA
Realty Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker


Nov 20, 2022 07:39 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Thanks for keeping us informed of scams as they come up. They're never-ending.

Nov 20, 2022 08:05 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Great education, Robert! Thank you.

I do not use PayPal and haven't for years so I know that all the emails I get about invoices (and there are several each day it seems) are spam. The Delete button gets lots of attention.


Nov 21, 2022 08:20 PM