Home ScamsPhishing Scams ‘We Noticed Some Unusual Activity’ PayPal Phishing Scam Email

‘We Noticed Some Unusual Activity’ PayPal Phishing Scam Email

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email purporting to be from PayPal claims that the company has noticed unusual activity on your account and is concerned about potential unauthorised access.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from PayPal. It is a criminal ploy designed to steal your PayPal account login details, your credit card numbers, and other sensitive personal and financial information.

Example:
Dear [email address removed],We need your help resolving an issue with your PayPal account. Meanwhile, to help protect your account, we’ve temporarily limited what you can do with it.What’s going on?We noticed some unusual activity on your PayPal account and are concerned about potential unauthorised account access.

What to do next

Please log in to your PayPal account and follow the steps there to confirm your identity and recent account activity. To help protect your account, your PayPal account will remain limited until you complete the necessary steps.

If you need further assistance, please click Contact at the bottom of any PayPal page.

Click Here

Sincerely,

PayPal

PayPal Phishing Scam Email


Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which claims to be from PayPal, the company has limited what you can do with your account because of security concerns. Supposedly, PayPal has noticed some unusual activity on your account and is therefore concerned about potential unauthorised access. It claims that, to resolve the issue, you need to click a link to login to your account and follow the outlined steps to confirm your identity and recent account activity. The email is professionally presented and includes the PayPal logo.

However, the email is certainly not from PayPal and the claim that your account has been limited is a lie. The email is a phishing scam that allows online crooks to steal your personal and financial information.

If you click the link in the email, you will be taken to a fraudulent website that presents you with a seemingly legitimate PayPal login box. The bogus site has a web address that includes the word ‘paypal’ in an effort to make it appear legitimate.

After you enter your PayPal email address and password into the fake login box, you will be redirected to a bogus update form that asks for your address and contact details as well as your driver’s licence number:
Fake PayPal form

Next, you will be taken to another form that asks for your credit card and banking details:

Fake PayPal Credit Card Update Form

Finally, you will be taken to yet another form that asks you to provide even more information about your bank account. After completing this last form, a notice will be displayed that claims that you have successfully lifted the limit on your account.

But, now, the criminals conducting this attack can collect all of the information you supplied and use it to hijack your PayPal account, commit credit card and bank fraud in your name, and possibly steal your identity as well.

PayPal phishing emails like this one are very common. Be very cautious of any email or text message claiming to be from PayPal that asks you to click a link or open an attachment to resolve a supposed account issue, perform an account update, or lift an account limitation or suspension. PayPal will never send you messages that demand that you take such actions. And, remember that genuine PayPal messages will always address you by name. They will never use generic greeting such as ‘Dear Customer’.  Nor will they use your email address as a greeting.

It is safest to login to your PayPal account by entering the web address into your browser’s address bar or via a legitimate PayPal app.

PayPal has published information about how to report such scam attempts on its website.


Last updated: April 29, 2016
First published: April 29, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
PayPal ‘Account Notification’ Phishing Scam
Report a suspicious email or website
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