Paypal customers target of apparent scam

Another scam that targets online shoppers who use the eBay Inc. PayPal Internet payment service is circulating on the Internet, according to reports from those who have received the suspicious e-mail and to messages posted to online discussion groups.

PayPal did not respond to requests for comment.

The e-mail appears to come from "info@paypal.com" and has a subject line that reads "Your PayPal account is Limited." The body of the message reads, in part: "PayPal is currently performing regular maintenance of our security measures. Your account has been randomly selected for this maintenance, and placed on Limited Access status."

Recipients are asked to provide their PayPal account information, credit card number and bank account number using a form in the body of the e-mail message. A button is provided to "log in" to PayPal's site and update the information.

The message is designed to look like it was generated by PayPal, using graphics from the PayPal Web site and similar fonts and colors as legitimate PayPal correspondence. A boilerplate statement about receiving notifications is even supplied at the end of the message, with links to PayPal that allow the recipient to modify their notification preferences.

"It was formatted really nicely. It had the right colors for the PayPal site and there weren't any obvious grammar mistakes," said Karawynn Long, a writer and Web designer in Seattle, who received one of the apparent scam e-mail messages. Long was almost fooled by the message into entering her account information.

"The subject of the e-mail was odd. But it was early in the morning. Pre-coffee," Long said.

Suspicious of being asked for her confidential account information, however, Long used her e-mail program to view the message's HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) source code. That search revealed that information submitted using the form would go to a host server with a domain name ending in .ru, the domain suffix for Russia, according to Long.

"When I viewed the source I could see (the scam), but how many people view the source on their e-mail?" Long said.

Scams targeting PayPal are common, according to Matt Sergeant, senior antispam technologist at MessageLabs Ltd. in Gloucester, England.

"They were one of the first Internet banks and they have an awful lot of customers," Sergeant said.

That means that spammers who blanket the Internet with millions of scam e-mail messages are likely to catch quite a few PayPal customers in their net, according to Sergeant. Still, this most recent message's professional appearance and careful attention to detail are not the norm, Sergeant said.

"What you have there really is the top tier of intelligence as far as spammers go. Most spammers are pretty stupid and easy to spot," Sergeant said.

Users who receive such an e-mail should contact PayPal to report the scam at https://www.paypal.com/ewf/f=sa_email.

PayPal customers who have been defrauded should report the theft to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sergeant said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?