PayPal is an online payments system that operates worldwide, allowing individuals and businesses to transfer money online quickly, safely and securely.
Since 1998 PayPal has fast become one of the most convenient and trusted methods for online payments, with 192 million users worldwide. For example, if you’ve ever used the popular online shopping and auction website eBay, you’ll have used PayPal.
Why do People use PayPal?
The service is touted as the “simpler, safer way to pay and get paid” — and for the most part this statement rings true. PayPal will never share your financial details with sellers and can help you to get your money back if anything ever goes wrong.
However, in recent years there have been an increasing number of sophisticated phishing emails — created by cybercriminals — that specifically target PayPal users due to the service’s widespread popularity.
As your PayPal account is tied to your bank account and/or credit card, it’s essential that you never give out your username and password.
How Does the PayPal Email Phishing Scam Work?
The most recently discovered PayPal phishing scam was unearthed by IT Security Company ESET. They described it as “particularly sophisticated”.
Fraudulent emails were sent out with convincing text, the correct PayPal logo and even the expected fine print.
The email told the recipient that there was a problem with their PayPal account and they could fix the issue by simply clicking the ‘log in’ button and entering their details.
Upon clicking the link, a webpage opened — but it wasn’t PayPal’s…
What’s Going On?
There were several tell-tale signs that not everything was as it seemed. For starters, the sender of the email wasn’t using an official paypal.com address.
There were also spelling mistakes. Although real companies have been known to make the occasional mistake, they do tend to check their emails thoroughly before sending them out to thousands of people at once!
As for the link itself, don’t be fooled just because you see a lock icon indicating a secure site once it’s loaded — always double-check the URL itself to see if it matches up with the official website, no matter how convincing the form is.
What Can I Do?
At ReputationDefender, we can help you protect yourself and your family from privacy threats.
Remain vigilant when it comes to reading your emails, and try to keep in mind that a respectable company will never ask for your details in this manner.
If you suspect you’ve received a PayPal phishing email, you should contact the company immediately to let them know.
If you’re not 100% sure, there’s an easy way to check. Ignore the link in the email and go directly to the official PayPal website.
If there is genuinely a problem with your account, you’ll get a notification when you try to log in.