PayPal “Verification Required” Phishing Scam Email

“Verification Required” email purporting to be from PayPal claims that your account has been limited due to several listed security issues and you must click a “Remove Limitation” button to address the issues.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from PayPal and the claim that your account has been limited is untrue. In fact, the email is a phishing scam designed to steal your PayPal account login credentials, your credit card numbers, and other sensitive personal information.

Subject: Verification Required !

PayPal Verification Required Phishing Scam

Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which claims to be from PayPal, your account has been limited and your “verification is required”. The email, which addresses you as “Dear Customer”, claims that the limitation has been imposed because someone else has logged into your account, you sent or received money related to fraudulent activity, and you violated the terms and the user agreements.

It features a “Remove Limitations” button that will supposedly allow you to deal with the account issues mentioned.

However, the email is not from PayPal and the claim that your account has been limited is a lie. Instead, the email is a typical phishing scam designed to steal your personal information.

If you hit the “Remove Limitations” button, you will be taken to a bogus website that has been built to emulate a genuine PayPal login page. The page asks you to login with your PayPal email address and password. After logging in, you will be taken to a second form that asks you to verify your account by supplying your credit card numbers, your name and address details, and other identifying information.  After submitting the requested information, you may receive a final message claiming that you have successfully removed the account limitations.

Meanwhile, the criminals can use the information you supplied to hijack your PayPal account and steal or misuse its funds as well as use your credit card for fraudulent transactions.   They may also be able to steal your identity using the personal and financial information they have gathered from you.

PayPal scams like this one are very common. Be wary of any PayPal message that claims that your account has been limited, disabled, or suspended and you must click a link or open an attached file to verify account details. PayPal will never send you an email or text message that makes such demands. Note also that PayPal will always address you by name in its messages. Genuine PayPal messages will never use generic greetings such as “Dear Customer”.

If you receive one of these emails, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.

The PayPal website includes information about how to recognize and report such phishing scams.


Last updated: August 17, 2016
First published: August 17, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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