Home Archive PayPal Billing Information Update Scam

PayPal Billing Information Update Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email claims that the recipient’s PayPal account will be suspended if billing information is not updated
Status:
False – The message is a phishing scam designed to steal personal information.

Example:
Subject: Notification : Paypal Billing Department

Security Center Advisory

Your PayPal billing information is out of date and needs to be updated. If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience to update your billing information, you will not run into any future problems with the online service.

Failure to update your records will result in account suspension.

Once you have updated your account records, your PayPal session will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.

Update your records now click on the following link:
[Link to bogus website removed]

This new security issue will help us continue to offer PayPal as a secure and cost-effective payment service. We appreciate your cooperation and assistance.

If you chose to ignore our request, you leave us no chose but to temporally suspend your account.

Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and you will not receive a response. For assistance, log in to your PayPal account and choose the Help link located in the top right corner of any PayPal page.



Detailed Analysis:
This email message purports to be from online payment company PayPal and warns recipients that their account will be suspended if they do not update their account details. However, the message is not from PayPal but is instead part of a typical phishing scam designed to steal personal information.

A link in the scam email leads to a bogus website designed to look almost identical to a genuine PayPal login page. If a victim falls for this ruse and logs in, he or she will be asked to fill in an online web form that request sensitive personal and financial information including address details, a credit card number and a social security number. Like the login page, this bogus form looks almost exactly like a genuine PayPal web page complete with seemingly legitimate logos and site navigation elements. A screenshot of part of the bogus form is shown below:

All information entered into the form can be collected by scammers and used to conduct fraudulent transactions and commit identity theft.

The link in the scam email is disguised using HTML so that it looks like a genuine PayPal web address.

Phishing scammers regularly target high profile financial institutions such as PayPal. Be very caution of any unsolicited email that asks you to follow a link or open an attachment and provide personal details. PayPal has information about phishing scams on its website.


Last updated: 17th May 2007
First published: 17th May 2007
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Check Links in HTML Emails
PayPal: Phishing Guide
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