According to this email, which appears to be an official payment notification from PayPal, you have sent a payment of $49.99 to FarmVille Zynga Games. The email features the PayPal logo and is set out like a genuine PayPal message.
However, the email is not from PayPal and it is not a genuine receipt for a FarmVille payment. It is a phishing scam. A link in the message opens a fake PayPal website designed to steal your PayPal account details and other personal and financial information.
The scam email advises you to click a link if you did not authorize the payment and wish to get a refund. The email also notes that to cancel a transaction, you will need to verify your identity and update the information the company has on file. Via these claims, the scammers lay their trap.
Some people who receive the bogus email may mistakenly believe that their PayPal account has been compromised and be thus panicked into clicking the link to cancel the transaction as instructed.
If you do click the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent website designed to emulate a genuine PayPal page. The first page on the fake site asks you to enter your PayPal email address and password to log in.
Once ‘logged in’ you will be taken to a fake ‘resolution centre’ page and told that to claim a refund, you must verify your information by filling in an online form. The form asks for your credit card numbers as well as your name, address, and contact information, bank account details, and other personal information.
At the end of the process, you may receive a final message claiming that the transaction has been cancelled and a refund will be issued. You may be automatically redirected to the real PayPal website.
Meanwhile, however, the criminals responsible for the scam campaign can collect all of the information you submitted on the fake website and use it to hijack your PayPal account, commit fraudulent PayPal and credit card transactions, and attempt to steal your identity.
PayPal phishing scams like this one are very common. Similar scam emails may claim to be purchase receipts for a range of other products and services. Some versions are designed to trick you into downloading malware rather than visiting a phishing website.
Be wary of any email that purports to be from PayPal and asks you to click a link or open an attached file to review a transaction, update account details, avoid an account suspension, or cancel a payment. It is always safest to login to PayPal – and your other online accounts – by entering the account address into your browser’s address bar or via an official app.
And, remember that genuine PayPal emails will always address you by name. They will not use generic greetings such as ‘Dear Customer’. Nor will they greet you by quoting your email address as with the scam we discuss here.
Dear user ID – [Email Address Removed] ,
You sent a payment of $49.99 AUD to FarmVille Zynga Games
It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
Merchant Facebook Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
Instructions to buyer Online delivery to : [Email Address Removed]
Description Unit price Qty Amount
$49.99 AUD 1 $49.99 AUD
Subtotal $49.99 AUD
Total $49.99 AUD
Payment $49.99 AUD
Charge will appear on your credit card statement as “PAYPAL *Facebook” Payment sent to email@example.com
Amount $49.00 AUD
Exchange rate: 1 AUD = 1.0000 AUD
Invoice ID: 20948-1-04570917 Facebook Company Ltd
* If you haven’t authorized this payment ,click the link below to get full refund.
Get refund : RefundMeNow
* In order to cancel a transaction we need to verify your identity. This may require to update your information we have on file.
Importance NoticeAfter 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 YouI 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 DateHoax-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!