Email purporting to be from PayPal claims that the company has noticed unusual activity on your account and is concerned about potential unauthorised access.
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.
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.
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:
Next, you will be taken to another form that asks for your credit card and banking details:
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