Home ScamsPhishing Scams “You Sent a Payment” PayPal Scams Continue

“You Sent a Payment” PayPal Scams Continue

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

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.

Brief Analysis

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.

Example
PayPal Phishing Scam Email

 

Detailed Analysis

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.


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