Another PayPal Fraud Alert

image I quite like PayPal. Through PayPal I can receive payment for my services, spend that money on the Web; transfer those funds to my bank account, and complete a host of additional financial transactions.

But (there’s always that “but”), PayPal is one online service that’s constantly targeted by email scammers and fraud artists. PayPal email scams have been with us virtually since PayPal came on the scene in 1999.

This morning I received the following email, purportedly from PayPal, in which the spam scammer attempts to convince me that this is the genuine article.

Just like most of these type of emails, this one contains the usual misspelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors.

“Very important message from PayPal! Please download the attachment and read and complete the form to avoid suspension.

PayPal protects its community and sometimes we verify information that we “belive” does not match credit card billing address or another IP has been used to login into your “paypal” account.

PayPal is an “Ebay” company.

Thank you. PayPal ID: 7622”

But, as the following screen capture shows, the reply form looks very professional.

PayPal Scam 2

It looks convincing enough, that some new PayPal users might easily be taken in. I know that you won’t be deceived by this type of clumsy attempt to defraud, but you would be surprised how often reasonably intelligent people are.

In this case the following issues raised immediate questions.

No personalized greeting. What – they forgot my name?

The reply form asks for information that I initially supplied to PayPal when I activated my account. What – they lost this information?

The reply form asks me to provide my password. Isn’t this supposed to be kept secret even from PayPal?

Common sense advice: If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of any email message and its attachment, delete them.

Be kind to your friends, relatives, and associates, particularly those who are new Internet users, and let them know that there is an epidemic of this type of scam on the Internet. In doing so, you help raise the level of protection for all of us.

Ask your friends, relatives, and associates to keep the following tips in mind  while on the Internet:

Don’t click links in emails or social networking sites. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them.

Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.

Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.Keep your computer protected.

Install a security solution and keep it up-to-date.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Email, email scams, Internet Security Alerts, Windows Tips and Tools

10 responses to “Another PayPal Fraud Alert

  1. Liam O' Moulain


    Is there any end in sight to this sort of thing?


  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    I got one the other day purportedly from Windows Live, asking me to verify my details, including ID and password. And it looked very professional and the real deal. I didn’t fall for it, but I wonder how many did?


    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Mal,

      These guys are getting better at making this stuff look pretty legit. There are days when I have to look twice before I know it’s a scam. I figure, their getting a better return now than they ever have. Their are plenty of people out there who still fall for these scams.

      You’d think people would learn – but no



  3. dar

    -we use PP for online donations, but after checking out the stuff at
    that’s all…even the ElReg punters are leary of it.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Dar,

      Called their customer service once, and ended up talking to some guy in Hungary who couldn’t speak English very well. Had an argument with the guy for 10 minutes and he hung up on me. Checked my account later that day and he had ,in fact, made the adjustment I requested. Still, a less than satisfactory customer service experience.


  4. TeXaCo

    I have received multiple Paypal scam emails. They usually start with “Dear Paypal User” gives it away off the bat. Paypal states they will always use your name when emailing. Although I still follow the golden rule of never clicking on the links in emails. If I do need to login. I go directly to the site. I also received the windows live ID thing as well.

    It is scary sometimes. My worst fear is when you go to actually pay for something from a website using your paypal and they direct you to paypal, pay for it and then you get directed back. I am always worried about the bad guys being able to redirect you to a fake paypal site where they get your info.

    Either way, I still use it. I just try to be careful as I can with it.

    Great article Bill

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Tex,

      “I am always worried about the bad guys being able to redirect you to a fake paypal site where they get your info” – sad to say, this has happened in the past. It seems to me thought, that you are taking all the necessary precautions. Well done.


  5. rover3500

    I’ve had a few.Never give any details.All the legit e-mails I’ve had from paypal ask me to log into my account(separate,not a link)to sort it out.
    Alot of links in e-mails don’t go to the link u can see on the screen,if u mouse over it,u will see the address is completely different.
    Phone them up to confirm anything ur not sure about,it’s worthit to make sure no-one gets ur hard earned cash.