Account notification email purporting to be from PayPal claims that ‘some data from your account information seems inaccurate or unverified’ and you should therefore click a ‘Check My Account’ button.
The email is not from PayPal. It is just one in an endless stream of phishing scams aimed at PayPal customers. It is designed to steal your PayPal account login details, credit card numbers, and other personal information via forms on a fraudulent website.
Subject: Account Notification
inaccurate or unverified. You have to check your information in order
to continue using our service smoothly, please check your account
information by clicking the link below.
According to this email, which rather lamely attempts to masquerade as an official PayPal account notification, the company has ‘noticed that some data from your account information seems inaccurate or unverified’. It notes that you must therefore check your information in order to keep using PayPal’s services ‘smoothly’ and includes a handy ‘Check My Account’ button. The message features a rather dodgy looking ‘PayPal Secure’ logo along with a copyright notice in the footer.
But, of course, PayPal certainly did not send this email nor does PayPal really require you to click a button to verify your account information. The email is a typical phishing scam designed to trick you into giving your personal and financial data to cybercriminals. If you click the ‘Check My Account’ button as instructed, a bogus website designed to mirror a genuine PayPal login page will open in your browser.
The fake site will first ask you to login with your PayPal email address and password and then redirect you to a fake ‘account update form’. The form will ask you to verify your account by supplying your credit card details, your name and address, and other personal data.
All of the information you input on the fake website can be collected by criminals. With this information in hand, they can hijack your PayPal account and use both the hijacked account and your credit card to conduct fraudulent transactions. In some cases, they may also use the personal and financial information they have accumulated to steal your identity.
PayPal conducts almost all of its business online and regularly communicates with customers via email. The company’s customers are therefore prime targets for phishing scams. PayPal phishing scam emails are many and varied and are almost constant visitors to inboxes all around the world. But, remember that genuine PayPal emails will always address you by name. They will never use generic greetings such as ‘Dear Client’ or ‘Dear Customer’. And, the company will never send you an unsolicited email that demands that you click a link to update or verify account details or fix a supposed account issue.
It is always safest to login to your PayPal account by entering the address into your browser’s address bar or via an official PayPal app.
You can learn more about PayPal phishing attempts and report suspected scam emails via information published on the PayPal website.
Last updated: March 14, 2016
First published: March 14, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen