PayPal Prenote Scam - Prenotification and Zero-Dollar Deposit

I found a $0.00 deposit on my savings account labelled "prenote" followed by some numbers and "PayPal". I found this odd because I have never used my savings account with PayPal, and I did not use my PayPal account at all on the day this deposit was made. I received no emails or notifications from PayPal as well. I immediately called my bank and they blocked the "merchant" from access to the account.

PayPal Prenote Scam - Prenotification and Zero-Dollar Deposit

After some googling, it seems like someone else may be trying to link my savings account to their own PayPal account. If this is the case, I find it odd that PayPal apparently only made one deposit of zero dollars, don't they usually deposit two small amounts to have you verify your info?

I also have no clue how they would have gotten my bank account information. I have never given this account info to anyone besides employers for direct deposit purposes. It couldn't have been through a phishing scam either because as far as I know I have not clicked any sketchy links or put my bank info in anywhere.

I have contacted PayPal and this is their response:

Hi ! Thank you for patiently waiting. My name is [removed]. Thanks for reaching out to PayPal Messaging Team! We appreciate your time bringing this issue to our attention and I'll be more than happy to assist you with that.

PayPal is recommended by the banks that we use to process our transactions to identify inactive bank accounts that may be linked to PayPal accounts. To do this, we send a prenotification (prenote) in the form of a zero-dollar deposit to all bank accounts on file linked to PayPal accounts.

This prenote does not affect the balance of your bank account and may not show up on your monthly statement, depending on your bank. There is no action needed from you if your bank account is verified as an active account.

If your bank account is inactive, the prenote will be returned to PayPal and we will send you an email to notify you of the inactive bank account being unlinked from your PayPal account. PayPal plans to send these prenotes every 6-12 months to ensure all linked bank accounts are still active.

For further questions or inquiries, you can visit our website and Community Page at www.paypal.com/smarthelp to resolve your account needs. Stay safe and keep smiling!

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  • July 1, 2022 at 10:34 AM by an anonymous user from: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

    I just got a "DIRECT DEPOSIT PAYPAL PRENOTE" $0 transaction dated 7/1 in my bank account (which happens to be linked to PayPal). It's not listed under Activity in my PayPal account. If it actually DOES originate from PayPal, and not some third party with my bank account info, then PayPal should show it under Activity to make clear that they're aware of it.

  • June 30, 2022 at 11:44 AM by info

    Scammers create PayPal accounts and link them to victims’ leaked banking information. Once payment information has been linked to an account, the scammers will normally make several test withdrawals — these appear as “Web PayPal Prenote” on the victims’ bank statements.

    The test withdrawals will often be for $0, but they may be as much as a few dollars. What the scammers are doing by making these small withdrawals, is they are testing the legitimacy of the leaked banking information, and also hoping to not arouse too much suspicion. After all, it’s tough to get too concerned about a transaction for $0, even if you don’t recognize it.

    However, once the scammers are sure the leaked banking credentials are legitimate and PayPal seems to be letting the withdrawals go through without issue, they will begin to make much larger withdrawals, potentially completely emptying victims’ bank accounts in the process!

    How to Stay Protected

    If you’ve noticed unusual “Web PayPal Prenote” transactions on your bank statement, the first thing you need to do is contact your bank. However, please be aware that you may end up having to close your account and set up another because once data is compromised, it’s compromised forever.

    These types of scams really highlight how dangerous and costly it can be to have your personal and financial information leaked. It’s not always possible to trace the origin of a leak, but compromised data is often shared by cybercriminals on the dark web and underground web forums.

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PayPal Prenote Scam - Prenotification and Zero-Dollar Deposit