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‘PayPal Account Closed for Security Reasons’ Phishing Scam Email

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, which appears to come from PayPal, your account has been closed for security reasons. 

Supposedly, PayPal locked the account because someone recently tried to log in from an unfamiliar location. The email instructs you to click a button to activate the account and confirm that it was you who tried to log in.  The message includes the PayPal logo and footer copyright information.

However, the email is not from PayPal and your account has not been locked as claimed.  Instead, the email is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.

If you click the activate account button, you will be taken to a fraudulent website that features a bogus PayPal login box.  The website has been built to look like a genuine PayPal page.

If you enter your PayPal email address and password and then click the ‘login’ button, an “account update” form will load in your browser.  The form will ask for your name, address, credit card numbers, and other identifying information.

Criminals can collect the information you supplied on the fake website. They can use the information to hijack your PayPal account and commit fraudulent transactions. They can also conduct further fraudulent transactions using your credit card. And, they may be able to use the information they have taken from you to steal your identity as well.

PayPal phishing scams like this one are very common. Remember that genuine PayPal emails always address you by your full name.  They will not omit this greeting. Nor will they use greetings such as ‘Hi [email address], or ‘Dear Customer’.

Always login to PayPal by entering the address into your browser’s address bar or via an official app rather than by clicking a link in an email.

You can report PayPal phishing scams via the information published on the PayPal website.

An example of the scam email:

Subject: Your PayPal account has been closed for security reasons

Your Account Is Temporarily Locked.

We’ve locked your account because someone recently tried to log in from an unfamiliar location. Please help us confirm that it was you who tried to log in.

Activate the account now

We appreciate your cooperation and assistance.
Yours sincerely,

PayPal account locked phishing 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,