/ Money, Scams

Scam alert: fake PayPal emails

PayPal is often a target for scammers looking for quick access to your money. Here are two phishing emails from earlier this year so you know how to spot them.

PayPal phishing emails are nearly always after the same thing; access to your account and personal information.

Here are two examples we’ve seen from earlier this year that can help show you what to look out for. We’ll also explain why they can be so effective.

On first glance, both emails appear to be from PayPal, using the company’s branding and its typical email layout.

They were also sent from email addresses that contain ‘PayPal’ in the domain, which helps make them seem more legitimate.

However, there are a couple of giveaways that all is not what it seems.

Hallmarks of a scam

PayPal usually addresses customers by name when it contacts you. A generic greeting in an email, such as the ‘Hello Customers’ is a cause for suspicion.

Other classic hallmarks of a scam we spotted include spelling and grammatical errors, including missing punctuation.

Guide: how to spot a scam email

It’s also very rare for a company to email you threatening to close your account if you don’t take immediate action. 

Scammers use this tactic to worry people into doing something, which unfortunately often successfully prompts the response they’re looking for.

PayPal has confirmed these emails are both fakes.

What if you’ve clicked through?

It’s unlikely there’s anything to worry about if you’ve only opened the email or clicked the link, but if you’ve entered any of your account details, such as your password, or given out your payment details, you must take precautions to protect yourself as soon as possible.

Guide: I think I may have given a fraudster my bank details

First, report what’s happened to both PayPal and the bank your account may be linked to.

If you do have credit or debit cards linked to your PayPal account, your bank will be able to make sure your money is protected.

PayPal should be able to secure your account, and its payment policy promises to protect its users from fraud.

If any money has been taken from your account because of these phishing emails, you should be reimbursed.

Have you received a PayPal phishing email in the past? How regularly do you see them?

Let us know, and help warn others in the comments.


I have just had an email purporting to be from Paypal recently after buying some items on Ebay telling me my account had been temporarily locked by the retailer to safeguard me owing to security concerns, but this should be impossible for the retailer to do. So I logged in separately to Paypal and checked that the item purchased had been paid for and there were no messages waiting for me and then used their contact details to alert them to my receipt of a message. In order to log into my Paypal account, from this standing start, I have to negotiate a two step security system of password then entry of a code sent by sms to my mobile by them.

However I can recall opening invitation emails previously to look at my paypal account, without remembering the circumstances.

Phenice says:
19 October 2020

I’ve just had a text from 07956 313673 PayPal: we have detected unusual activity on this account. Please sign in to confirm the transactions https//login74848-PayPai.com – has any one else received a text like this?

Yes i got one the same !i checked my pal pal account so knew for sure it was a scam as i thought !!

I’ve had a text today from 07944 317834 exactly the same message but a different link…..I don’t even nor have ever had a PayPal account!!!

I also has one from EE saying my DD hadn’t been paid !!also one from DVLA saying i was owed £250 seeing as i didn’t have a car these scans are getting more ,sure some get caught by them !!

Chrissie says:
6 December 2020

I’ve just had an email from someone who wanted to buy my 3 piece suite. The money wasn’t in the account. But they sent an email with an invoice requesting £175 back towards shipping costs…. what shipping costs? They were meant to be collecting it.
Luckily I didn’t follow the links or instructions to pay £175 before I received my money from them….. as if anyone is going to fall for ‘pay this first and then get paid!!!”

Identified on my fone instead of a number as LIMITATION.

PayPal: Your account is limited due to a failed payment request from UBER BV. Please login at https://pay-pal-id*********** to remove the restriction.

I’ve never used UBER!

My 18yr old sons PlayStation account was hacked, it took PlayStation a month to allegedly sort it out. They said they had then 3wks later he logged in & in the space of 3 minutes he was logged out, his password changed & £575 spent from his bank. (I felt awful for him, he works 3 jobs & weaves most of his money) Luckily Santander are brilliant. They realised this was unusual & blocked any more payments & contacted us. They went through everything with him, cancelled his card etc. He had forms sent out to sign. Santander within 10 days refunded him all the money he’d lost. About 3wks later he was sent 3 forms to sign because Santander are still fighting PlayStation for the money, they’re trying to say the were legitimate transactions because he’s bought games via them before, even though he doesn’t buy loads of games, would never spend that amount on games & knowing his account had already been hacked & in my opinion should never have told him they had sorted it out & his account was now safe to use! Now if he buys a game he deletes his card details straight after. We’re just grateful Santander are crack hot on fraud. A few yes back they picked up fraudulent use of my card & blocked it before any money was spent because I have never bought from Microsoft (Xbox) & they were trying payment after payment.