Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

PayPal Email Phishing Scam Example

"Phishing" is when a scammer sends emails out hoping the recipients will reply with confidential information like log in names and passwords. Most of the time these emails look like they were sent by specific companies like PayPal.

Today's article contains a fraudulent paypal email along with some tips for spotting these scam emails.

Here's the email:

Dear PayPal Customer,

PayPal is constantly working to ensure security by regularly screening the accounts in our system. We recently reviewed your account, and we need more information to help us provide you with secure service. Until we can collect this information,your access to sensitive account features will be limited. We would like to restore your access as soon as possible, and we apologize for the inconvenience.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Why is my PayPal account limited?

Your account has been limited for the following reason(s):

Unusual account activity has made it necessary to limit your account until additional verification information can be collected.

(Your case ID for this reason is PP-001-059-328-355.)

Our system detected unauthorized use linked to your PayPal account.

(Your case ID for this reason is PP-001-059-328-409.)

---------------------------------------------------------------

How can I get my PayPal account restored?

The restoration form is attached to this email. Please download the attachment and open the form in a browser and follow the instructions on your screen.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Once you complete all of the checklist items, your case will be reviewed by one of our PayPal Account Specialists. We will send you an email with the outcome of the review.

Thank you,
PayPal Customer Service.

Note: the email above says to fill in the attached webform. I didn't open the form because this is a common way for scammers to place malware and viruses onto unsuspecting users computers.

Now for some quick tips to spot and avoid these scams.

  1. Not having an account with the company is a big clue. I don't have an account with Bank Of America, but regularly get emails saying my BofA account has been suspended. These emails don't get a second glance from me.
  2. The email address should match the email address used with that account. If you only use one email account, your email address should be in the "to" field. The email above had no email address in the to area.
  3. Look for personal information. Any company you have a relationship with will have your name, and will use it when contacting you about problems.
  4. Never click on a link in one of these emails. The links within the emails will take you to a site that looks something like the real paypal website, but is used to trick you into giving out log in information. Instead type the url into your browser.
  5. If you bookmark banking sites, make sure you end up on the bank's site when you use the bookmark. Also make sure the url begins with https. The s stands for secured.
  6. Update your browser. Internet Explorer and Firefox both check web addresses against known phishing sites. The Google Toolbar may also do this. New browsers will also show special a symbol on secured sites. In Firefox, you'll see the companies name to the left of the URL and can click on the name to get information about the security the site uses.
  7. Use a Gmail account for your banking accounts. As part of the Spam protection service, Google will block most of these emails before you can see them. They can do this because their email servers will see large quantities of these emails coming in.
  8. Remember, most companies will call if there is suspicious activity on your account. I know eBay will call active selling accounts. (Maybe only if you're a PowerSeller?) I also know my bank calls.

A little time being self protective will help you avoid these scams.

Be safe out there,

Terry

Other links relating to phishing and scams:

Scams Aimed At eBay Sellers Page
An Example Of An eBay Spoof eMail
Spotting PayPal Spoof eMails


Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.

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