/ 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.

04/02/2022: Phishing emails continue

We’re aware that fake PayPal emails continue to be sent on a regular basis, so we’re taking the opportunity to remind everyone to stay alert for this type of scam. Here’s the most recent example we’ve seen:

A common tactic of phishing emails is to panic the recipient into taking immediate action. However, the page this email linked to was clearly nothing to do with PayPal and was blocked by our browser.

If you receive a similar email and you’re unsure if it’s genuine, contact PayPal directly via its legitimate channels.

23/07/2020: Fake PayPal emails

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.

Heather says:
6 February 2022

I have been getting scam calls purporting to be from Amazon about my account, I just cut them off.

David says:
15 February 2022

I had an amazon scam phone call today I knew it was a scam as I don’t have an amazon account 🙃

I was staying with my 86 year old Mum, who told me she had been receiving scam calls early in the mornings, which were waking her up. Therefore when her phone rang at 08:00 yesterday morning I answered, and an automated message said there were problems with her Amazon account as a payment for £799:00 had been blocked for ‘security reasons’ and to “please press 2 to speak to customer services” As my Mum has neither an internet connection nor (obviously) an Amazon account I pressed 2. I was put through to a lady in “customer services” and I asked her why she was generating these scam calls early in the morning, and that I was going to report the number to Amazon as it was a scam. She started shouting at me asking why I was being so rude and “didn’t I know how to talk to people properly” I hung up.

I get these quite often but before I retired i worked for PayPal so know what to look for.

J.Bunting says:
6 February 2022

Had another one today.

Mick Popka says:
7 February 2022

From the Times:
“Fraud and online scams are not problems that “people experience in their daily lives”, the business secretary has suggested as he sought to defend Boris Johnson’s inaccurate claim that crime was falling.

Kwasi Kwarteng was accused of failing to take fraud seriously after arguing that the prime minister was not counting rising numbers of online scams when discussing crime statistics in the Commons.

Johnson was rebuked by the head of the UK Statistics Authority last week for his misleading use of official crime figures after claiming in the Commons that crime had fallen by 14 per cent. Sir David Norgrove said: “If fraud and computer misuse are counted in total crime, as they should be, total crime in fact increased by 14 per cent between the year ending September 2019 and the year ending September 2021.”

He said there had been a “sharp rise in fraud and computer misuse” that had more than offset falls in other kinds of crime.”

You couldn’t make it up!

The people running this country have absolutely no idea what is going on.

Not only have they written off the fraudulent “bounce back” loans, our money, they refuse to acknowledge that Fraud and Computer misuse is happening and we are losing large amounts of money.

Howard Youdan says:
8 February 2022

I got an email this morning headed ‘Gift’ purporting to come from Paul Wesgate (Not Westgate) which said ‘Sorry to bother you, do you have amazon?’. The email address was wesgateip@aol.cm (Not aol.com).
As I don’t know anyone of that name I deleted it

[Moderator: this website appears to be a scam website. We’ve retained the URL to help you identify it, but we’ve redirected the link to our guidance on how to spot fraudulent website. ]

Shaun M says:
15 February 2022

Whats the point of issuing examples of scam letters in such small print as to be unreadable?

Arlene Phillips says:
4 May 2022

If you click on the three dots top right and on the menu increase your display size from 100% to about 150% you will then be able to read small print, then go back to your normal viewing mode