Here are some of the most common PayPal Phishing Email Examples. More than 200 million people have a PayPal account and that is the big reason why PayPal is such a huge target for scammers and cyber criminals.
As a PayPal subscriber, I know there are some very dangerous PayPal scams. In fact, I have received fake PayPal email in my inbox (latest phishing attempt was a couple of days ago), and I want to warn you about most common tactics phishers use to deceive people.
Majority of people who run an online business have a PayPal account. Also, many people who buy regularly on the Internet use PayPal as a payment processor. Phishers can cause a huge threat to your finances if you are not careful.
Phishers are very skilled to create and craft emails that will look like they are sent from the real companies and as a result, victims will take these fake emails seriously and they will respond to these emails by giving their personal / financial information.
First of all, what is a Phishing Email?
What is a Phishing Email? Phishing Email is an attempt to damage individuals through the email messages.
Phishing emails are terms related to dubious online practices via email, either to sale goods or services online or to gain access to confidential information such as PASSWORDS, USERNAMES, and CREDIT CARD DETAILS, often with malicious intent.
Phishing emails are also form of SPAM (unwanted, junk emails) that will contain commercial content like suspicious financial transactions, or “too good to be true offers” (just like Easy money making scams).
Why people fall to these type of emails?
- Phishing emails impersonate a trustworthy company or an institution by putting convincing brand logos, language, and email address that appears to be valid, so people can be deceived very easily.
- Scammers use links inside emails that look valid but they are not. They will take you to fake scam sites or legitimate-looking pop-up windows that can contain malware and viruses.
- Phishers will ask you to “update” your personal details online via a fake email (most often imitating a bank or some other online wallet and payment processors like PayPal) that will lead to suspicious and bogus websites.
- Phishing emails will most likely go into your spam / trash folder, but beware because they can stray in your inbox from time to time (the latest PayPal phishing email that I have received a couple of days ago was in my INBOX)
So, let’s dive in and see what are the most common PayPal phishing email examples.
How to recognize the most common PayPal phishing Email examples?
Here are the most common tricks phishers use to deceive people.
Have you ever received a threat that your PayPal account will be closed if you do not respond to an email message? You probably have. Invoking a sense of urgency is a common phishing tactic (that unfortunately works in many cases).
Cyber criminals and phishers will often use threats that your security has been compromised and they will try to fool you to “act immediately or they will suspend or terminate your account”.
Legitimate companies will NEVER email you to take immediate action or threaten you with immediate suspension of your account. When you see threatening message from any company or a brand, that is clearly a scam.
Links inside Emails and Email addresses are fake
When you see a link in a suspicious email message hold your mouse (but don’t click) on the link to see if the address matches the link that was provided in the message. If the link address is incorrect or looks strange, don’t click on it.
When you receive spam emails, it is important to never respond or click on links even if an ‘unsubscribe’ link is provided. Even if the email comes from the organization you are connected to, do not respond to it.
By responding, you are alerting the spammer that this is a valid email address, and this will just increase the chance of receiving much more spam in the future.
Phishers will also ask you to download attachement files which can contain malware or viruses that can damage or harm your computer. (an image below represents the phishing PayPal email that I have received a week ago).
Do not download attached files in email.
Another very important thing you need to know is that PayPal (or any legitimate company) will never email containing attachment files, and they will never require you to send personal information to them via email or pop-up windows.
Beware of grammatical or spelling mistakes
Brands and legitimate companies (especially PayPal) are very serious about their emails, and they don’t have grammar errors and misspellings. First, why are email scams written in bad English? It could range from the poor writing abilities of the individual scammer to the volume of spam Emails they send out – making them more careless.
And they are careless because they will always have a small, tiny percentage of victims that will contact them back. Online scammers target millions of people and they don’t need a high hit rate, they need small percentage of naive people to reply or hook up to their emails. The saddest part is that they will always have some people who will respond to their emails.
That is the reason why most scammers will simply reuse “scripts” with grammar errors created by others which they know have worked in the past (even with 5 people).
It is much easier to send out a proven email which they know has worked in the past than it is to take time to correct grammar errors. So if you see grammar mistakes in email, consider this as a big red flag.
Emails are generic and they are not addressed to you
Most of these emails won’t be addressed to you personally. These emails are generic emails sent out to thousands (or even tens of thousands) of recipients to phish for a response in hope that people will provide their personal details, passwords and even Credit card details.
Phishers will also contact you out of nowhere and ask you to update personal account or to provide personal details to ‘fix the problem’.
‘Warning. Your PayPal account is limited’
You can also receive generic email with warning that your PayPal account is limited (without clear explanation why). As you can see, there is also link to ‘remove limitation’.
So once again, rest your mouse (but don’t click on the link) and you will see that link and actual destination is different from indicated destination.
The most dangerous PayPal phishing email examples
1. ‘RECEIPT FOR YOUR PAYPAL PAYMENT’ / ‘YOU SENT AN AUTOMATIC PAYMENT
There is a very dangerous form of PayPal scam / phishing email that scammed many people, and it is called PayPal Email Receipt or Receipt for your PayPal payment.
When you receive an email from “PayPal” that has subject message like “Receipt for your PayPal payment to xxx” or “You sent a payment of xxx $ to xxx” do not panic.
This is another weak / desperate attempt from cyber criminals and phishers to steal your PayPal information. These emails are NOT sent from PayPal.
When you receive emails like this, there will be a link inside your email with option to “cancel that payment” or some other link that will most likely lead to websites with malware or viruses, or they will lead to fake websites that impersonate www.PayPal.com, and they will ask you to enter your PayPal account details.
When you enter your PayPal details, scammers will use accounts fraudulently and it will lead to Identity Theft. Do not click on the links that are provided inside emails. What you must do, is to log in to your PayPal account DIRECTLY from https://www.paypal.com instead and check if there were any suspicious transactions within your account.
I am 99.9% sure there will be no unauthorized payments, purchases, or withdraws from your account (unless of course you REALLY sent money to someone you know). But if there were some suspicious transactions you need to report it to PayPal urgently.
Let’s see examples of “Receipt for your PayPal payment” that are fake!
Now, here is an example of a valid “Receipt for your PayPal Payment” sent by me personally!
2. ‘YOU RECEIVED A PAYMENT AND IT IS PENDING ON YOUR ACCOUNT’
PayPal Phishing Email Examples like that one are very common. As you can see, there is a real PayPal logo inside email, and it is easy to believe that you have received ‘payment’.
As you can see, this is clearly a fake $3722.96 payment that is supposed to be on your account. Many people will be curious and enthusiastic and they will click on the links that are inside email. This email is designed to steal your information that can lead to identity theft.
When you receive an email that says you have a ‘pending payment’ (probably bigger amount of money) procedure is the same. Do not open URL’s that are inside email.
Here is what it looks like when you receive REAL payment on your PayPal account.
Log in to your PayPal account directly from www.PayPal.com and check out if there were some transactions within your account.
‘CONFIRM YOUR PAYPAL BANK ACCOUNT’
This is generic email that will be addressed as ‘Dear PayPal member’ or ‘Dear client’, and PayPal always uses your real name. I hope you did not click on that link to confirm your bank account.
However, if you accidentally clicked on that link inside your email, you need to change your password and security questions immediately, and forward this email to PayPal.
What to do when you receive PayPal phishing emails?
- Report PayPal phishing emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Just forward an Email or create a screenshot and then upload it from your computer
- Delete these E-mails
- DO NOT click on the links that are provided inside emails because they will take you to spoofing websites (forged sites that appear identical to their legitimate counterparts, but they aren’t)
- Log into your accounts DIRECTLY (whether it is your PayPal, EBay, or bank account), not through links that are provided within emails. If there was any transaction within your account, it will be displayed in your account once you login. Otherwise, email is 100% fake.
- Be extremely careful, especially if you receive fake PayPal email into your INBOX. Like I said before, PayPal phishing scam that I have received a couple of weeks ago, was in my Inbox, not in my spam folder!
Take a quiz
Until now you have learned a lot about PayPal phishing email examples and how to recognize them. When you think you’re too smart to fall for a scam, you may want to reconsider it again. You can learn how to differentiate a fake/phishing emails/websites from a legitimate one with very interesting quiz:
There are 14 questions. After you are done, new window will open and you can see your test results. If an example is a phishing email, you can click on FIND OUT WHY, new pop-up window will open and they will have detailed explanation about why specific email is phishing email. Picture example below…
Are these PayPal Phishing Email Examples I have described familiar to you?
If you had an experience with PayPal phishing email examples I have described, share it here. If you had an experience with financial / credit card phishing scams I haven’t mentioned here, whether is was from PayPal or not, definitely share it here. We need to help each other to stay safe online, and it may help others to avoid this dangerous type of phishing scams.
When it comes to your money and finances you definitely don’t want to play with this.