Home ScamsPhishing Scams PayPal ‘Your Account is Temporarily Limited’ Phishing Scam

PayPal ‘Your Account is Temporarily Limited’ Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email purporting to be from PayPal claims that your account has been limited because some information in the account is missing or incorrect.



Brief Analysis:
The email is not from PayPal and your account has not been limited as claimed. It is a phishing scam designed to steal your PayPal login credentials, your credit card details, and your email account password.

Example:
Subject: Your account has been limitedPayPal Secure

Dear Client,

Temporary Information Confirmed Thanks for use PayPal! We sent you an email sometime ago asking for your help to resolve an issue with your PayPal account. Since we haven’t heard back from you and we need you to provide some informations, your account is temporarily limited :
– Some informations on your account appears to be missing or incorrect. Please update your account promptly so that you can continue using all the benefits of your PayPal account.
1- Download the attached document and open it in a secure browser.
2- Follow the verification process and give us your correct information. Our new verification measures have been put in place in March 2016 to protect our customers.

Kind regards.

PayPal Account Limited Phishing Scam




Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which claims to be from PayPal, ‘your account is temporarily limited’. Supposedly, the limitation was put in place because ‘some informations on your account appears to be missing or incorrect’. The email claims that PayPal emailed you previously to ask for your help to resolve the issue but they never heard back from you. It instructs you to open an attached file in a secure browser and follow the verification process to supply your correct information.

However, the email is not from PayPal.  It is just one more scam email in a continuing stream of similar phishing messages that claim – falsely – that you must take some action to prevent your account being limited, suspended, or closed.

If you open the attachment as instructed, a webpage containing a PayPal login box will open in your default browser. After you ‘login’ on the fake webpage, you will be taken to a second page that contains the following form. The form, titled ‘Safety Measures’, asks for your email address and email password, your name and contact details, and your credit card information:

PayPal Phishing Form

After you fill in the form and hit the ‘Agree and Continue’ button, you will be redirected to a ‘404 Page Not Found’ error.

Meanwhile, the criminals who sent the email can collect all of the information you supplied and use it to hijack your PayPal account as well as use your credit card to conduct fraudulent transactions. And, because you supplied your email account details as well, they can also take over your email account and use it to send spam and scam emails in your name.

In this version of the scam, the criminals have included the fake form as an attachment as a means of thwarting browser phishing filters.  Other versions may ask you to click a link rather than open an attachment.

PayPal scam messages like this one are very common.  Be cautious of any email purporting to be from PayPal that claims that you must click a link or open an attachment to deal with a supposed account problem. And remember that genuine PayPal emails will always address you by name.  They will never use generic greeting such as ‘Dear Client’ or ‘Dear Customer’.

It is always safest to login to your online accounts by entering the account address into your browser’s address bar or via an official app.

You can report PayPal phishing scam via the reporting details on the PayPal website.




Last updated: April 1, 2016
First published: April 1, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
PayPal ‘Your Account Has Been Closed’ Phishing Scam
PayPal ‘Account Notification’ Phishing Scam
PayPal – Report a suspicious email or website

 

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