PayPal Warns: Watch Out for Email Scams

John Lister's picture

PayPal has released a list of tips for avoiding scam emails. It follows officials in the UK receiving more than a thousand reports of phishing emails in just one day.

The reports were about a series of fake emails claming to be from PayPal. They followed a familiar format of claiming the recipient's account had been limited because of a violation of the company's Acceptable Use Policy. (Source:

The messages included a link supposedly pointing to PayPal for the user to log in and confirm their identity. In fact the link took the user to a fake page designed to trick them into typing in their login details which the scammers could then use to seize control of their account, redirect incoming payments, and attempt to access personal information such as bank details.

Treat Links With Caution

PayPal says the most important tip is to never click on a link in an email requesting personal information.

Instead, users who get an email about their account (rather than a general notification such as one about a transaction) should always go straight to their browser and type the relevant Paypal site address in directly.

The company also noted that it never uses email attachments so customers should not open any that appears to be attached to the email.

It added that it always uses the customer's first name and surname at the start of a message, so users should be alert to any supposed PayPal email that begins with a generic greeting.

Typos May Be A Tip-Off

Another clue to watch out for is messages that contain extensive spelling or grammar errors, or odd wording.

One theory is that this is done deliberately with the idea being that users who still get tricked by such messages will be more likely to fall for the next stage of any scam. (It should be noted at least one example of a fake PayPal email published by British police had perfect spelling and professional wording.)

PayPal says any users who get a suspicious email claiming to be about their account should forward it to (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

What steps do you take to avoid phishing scams and spot bogus emails? Is it something you worry about or are you confident of avoiding it? Should legitimate companies avoid using links in emails and instead tell customers to go to the website through their browser?

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PseudoGeek's picture

I've been getting these scam e-mails claiming to be from PayPal for a long time. And they're JUST NOW warning people about them?? Good job, PrayPal. Right on top of things.

par4ugolf_13826's picture

I receive these periodically, but always forward them to PayPal and if I desire to investigate further I go to PayPal directly to see if there is an issue. Thanks for the headsup Dennis.

kitekrazy's picture

Too bad my Yahoo account can't figure out it's spam.

gi7omy's picture

I've had a couple of paypal scam e-mails but not 5recently. What I have been getting are e-mails claiming there is a problem with direct debit for my (UK) TV license.

As I know full well that there is NO problem what I do is right click on the website link, copy it and paste it into Notepad (or similar) and, lo and behold, it shows a very strange hyperlink which goes nowhere near any government issued site