Emails that appear to be from PayPal claim that the recipient has purchased an expensive item or service and has sent a payment for the item to the merchant.
The emails are phishing scams. They are not from PayPal. If you click the cancel payment link in the message, you will be taken to a fraudulent website designed to steal your PayPal login details and other personal and financial information.
According to this email, which purports to be from PayPal, you sent a payment for an airport parking service. The email, which is professionally presented and features the PayPal logo, includes details about the supposed purchase and includes a link that supposedly allows you to manage or cancel payments.
Despite its appearance, however, the email is not from PayPal and the claim that you sent a payment to the listed merchant is untrue.
Instead, the email is a phishing scam designed to steal your PayPal account login credentials, your credit card details, and other identifying personal information.
As phishing scams go, this one is quite sophisticated. Instead of demanding that recipients click a link, this scam takes a more subtle approach. The scammers know that at least a few recipients, panicked into believing that their PayPal account has been used to make an unauthorised purchase, will discover and click the “Manage/Cancel” link near the bottom of the email. This approach may make the email seem more legitimate to many potential victims.
If you do click the “cancel” link, you will be taken to a fraudulent website that has been designed to closely emulate a genuine PayPal login. After “logging in” on the fake site, you will be taken to a second page that asks you to supply your name and address details, your date of birth, your credit card numbers, and other identifying information.
After you hit the “Cancel Payment” button on the bogus form, all of the information that you supplied will be collected by criminals and used to hijack your PayPal account, commit credit card fraud, and steal your identity.
This “cancel payment” ruse is a common scammer tactic. Details in these emails vary considerably. Different versions will list different products, sellers, purchase amounts, and other details. But, all of them are designed to trick people into clicking the “cancel payment” link and divulging their personal information to criminals.
If you receive an email that appears to be from PayPal and claims that you have made a payment you know nothing about, do not click any links that it contains.
It is always safest to access your PayPal account by entering the address into your browser’s address bar or via an official PayPal app. And, keep in mind that genuine PayPal emails will ALWAYS address you by name. They will NEVER omit your name from the greeting or address you with a generic greeting such as “Dear Customer” or your email address.
PayPal has information about phishing scams and how to report them on its website.