Home ScamsPhishing Scams Cybercriminals Using Text Messages to Distribute PayPal Phishing Scams

Cybercriminals Using Text Messages to Distribute PayPal Phishing Scams

by Brett M. Christensen

AMrat phone with text message scam

Traditionally, phishing scams – including the seemingly endless stream of scam messages designed to steal your PayPal account details – have mainly been distributed via email.

But, of course, criminals are quite willing to use any means at their disposal to find new victims. And, increasingly, these criminals are turning to phone text messages to achieve their nefarious goals.

In this example, the scammers have sent out text messages purporting to be from the PayPal Team. The text warns that your PayPal account has been locked and urges you to follow a link to restore access.  But, of course, the text message is certainly not from PayPal. If you click the link as requested, a fake PayPal webpage will open in your smartphone’s default web browser. The fake page, which includes the PayPal logo and formatting, will ask you to login to your account to rectify the supposed issue and ‘unlock’ your account.

If you do ‘login’ on the fake site, the cybercriminals can then steal your login details, use them to hijack your real PayPal account, and conduct fraudulent transactions in your name. 
Keep in mind that PayPal will never send you a generic message, be it email or SMS, that requests you to click a link to login your account.  Official PayPal messages will always address you by name.

PayPal has information about phishing scams and how to report them on its website.

An example of an SMS PayPal Scam:


PayPal Text Message Scam

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,