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PayPal is one of the most popular money transfer apps, with millions of users worldwide. For fraudsters, this is a potential gold mine. Their weapons of choice are scam emails used for carrying out phishing attacks. In the following guide, we’ll tell you how to identify and deal with a PayPal phishing email.
Spotting a Fake Email From PayPal
While some phishing emails are poorly drafted, and most people can realize they’ve got an email from scammers, others are far more sophisticated. There are a few things to keep an eye out for.
- Scammers will create a sense of urgency: You will often receive an email that invites you to collect a sum of money you supposedly won, and in order to collect the prize, you’ll either need to log in with your PayPal credentials or deposit money. There’s usually a deadline in a fake PayPal email.
- You got paid: In other cases, fraudsters will send out emails telling PayPal users they got paid. The emails often ask recipients to click on a link to withdraw the money. By doing so, the victim is taken to a fake login page and asked for their PayPal password.
- Your account is compromised: Another form of phishing involves telling the victims that their account was hacked. Cyber criminals employ social engineering techniques to obtain information, access, or money.
- Dear Sir/Madam: Since these emails are not focused on individuals, the greetings are usually generic. In contrast to spear phishing, regular phishing targets large numbers of people in the hopes that some of them will fall for the scam. A PayPal scam email will rarely use your full name.
- You’ll be asked to download software: Fraudsters will try to trick you into installing software that will allegedly improve your device’s security. This is usually a virus.
- Scammers will ask for your financial information: PayPal will never ask for sensitive information via email. Such requests always come from fraudulent accounts.
- You’ll be asked to provide account information: Just like financial information, you’ll never receive a legitimate request for your log-in and account information via email. If this happens, you’re dealing with a fraudulent PayPal email.
How to Tell If It’s a Real Email From PayPal
There are a few useful tips that can help you determine whether the email in your inbox is really from PayPal.
- PayPal never includes attachments in their emails: You should never click on any items attached in an email claiming to be from PayPal. PayPal email scams include malicious attachments so they can infect your device or PayPal account.
- Emails from PayPal always come from paypal.com: Any email calming to be from PayPal without this domain is fake. Sometimes it may appear that the email address ends with paypal.com, but you should always click on the email properties and see the full email address.
Things to Do If You Receive a Phishing Email Pretending to Be PayPal
You should never click on any links or attachments if you suspect the email you received is not legitimate. The best practice is to report the phishing attempt to PayPal by forwarding the entire email [email protected]. PayPal scams can also be conducted via SMS. So make sure to report any suspicious messages and calls as well.
After forwarding the information, delete the PayPal fraud email from your inbox to avoid accidentally clicking on links or attachments.
Securing Your Account
If you clicked on any phishing email links or disclosed your account details or financial information, you can take a few steps to mitigate the damage.
- Call your bank, explain what happened, and ask for further instructions.
- Immediately change your password and security questions for PayPal.
- Go through your recent activity and see if there are any transactions you didn’t make.
- If you notice an unauthorized account activity, call PayPal customer service or fill out the relevant form in the PayPal Resolution Center.
Keep in mind that fraudsters tend to be persistent, and new PayPal scam emails can always appear in your inbox, which is why it’s essential to follow these tips.
PayPal is only getting more popular, which means that scams will only get more sophisticated. The statistics are alarming, with some of the most recent data revealing that a new phishing site is created every 20 seconds.
Falling for a PayPal phishing email could take you to one of these sites and cause serious financial damage. The information in our guide will help you determine whether the email you got is legitimate and what measures can be taken if you’ve fallen victim to a scam.