Home ScamsPhishing Scams PayPal ‘Account Notification’ Phishing Scam

PayPal ‘Account Notification’ Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
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.



Brief Analysis:
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.

Example:
Subject: Account Notification
Dear Client.We have noticed that some data from your account information seems
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.
PayPal Account Notification Phishing Scam




Detailed Analysis:
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
About Hoax-Slayer

References
PayPal ‘Your Account Has Been Closed’ Phishing Scam
‘Confirm Your New Security Question’ PayPal Phishing Scam
Phishing Scams – Anti-Phishing Information

 

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,
Hoax-Slayer