Friday, November 2, 2007

Beware of Fake PayPal Emails

I don't like to be taken advantage of and this almost happened when I opened an email seemingly coming from PayPal. I found it a bit strange at first to get an email from PayPal on my new email address (which I never use with them) but this message looked like a genuine PayPal email, it had the logo and was even signed from someone with a PayPal email ID.

The email in question informed me that they had noticed some suspicious activity on my PayPal account. I was worried that someone may have been using my PayPal account without my authorisation so I clicked on the link provided in the email in order to verify my identity, as I was being advised to. The email also said that if I did not act in the next 72 hours, my PayPal account would be cancelled.

I clicked on the link (which started with*) and was taken to what looked exactly like the real PayPal website, where I had to enter my user name and password (which is usual when you log in to the PayPal site) but when I went to verify my identity, which was really a form requesting all my details, I did not see the security symbol (which should look like a lock) anywhere on the page.

This detail prompted me to open a new page and type the PayPal website address in my browser. Once on the website I noticed that not only the security symbol was present but also the browser area where you can see the page's URL address is always green in the real PayPal website. After finding the PayPal security center, I forwarded the suspicious email to and they confirmed that this was a phishing email. Fortunately, I had also remembered to change my PayPal password right after I noticed that there was something not right on the fake website.

If you think you have been targeted by a phishing email please report it. There are a lot of websites where you can do this so I won't list them all but you can search Google or Yahoo for "report phishing". If you just want to learn more about phishing email, you can take PayPal's Fight Phishing Challenge at

*Please do not access PayPal through any email or website link (including this one), if you want to visit PayPal's website, type in in your browser.

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1 comment:

Magdalen Islands said...

Thank you so much for this post because I might have not noticed anything suspicious.

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