WARNING: To All Paypal Account Holders……
Scoop ALERT: Potential Spam Based Paypal Ripoff In Play
It pays to read your email very carefully and check what appears to be happening in the address bar of your browser before you enter any important details – ESPECIALLY FINANCIAL DETAILS – into a web form.
A Scoop staff member just received the following message. It seems real enough at first glance, but on examination it appears to be a not particularly clever (but possibly highly effective) new scam designed to first fleece PayPal.com account holders of their passwords, and then perhaps shortly after, fleece them of their funds.
While there is no clear connection the timing of this scam appears to follow hot on the heels of a decision by PayPal to revoke the account of the high-profile http://whatreallyhappened.com independent Internet news website.
News of the controversial move to revoke the website's PayPal account – which it used (like Scoop) to solicit donations from readers - has been spreading like wildfire in alternative online media circles.
The site itself has set up a page with links to sites complaining about aspects of PayPal.com's service. [See… http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/paypal.html]
It seems possible that the scam outlined below could be designed to exploit public concerns about their accounts also being closed prematurely.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 4:49 PM
Subject: confirm that this is your email
Dear paypal® User,
The paypal servers are currently under heavy stress due to unproportional usage of our email services. Thus The paypal Staff has decided to reduce the number of paypal accounts by a huge margin to regain its potential.
All accounts which are currently not under use shall be removed permanently from our web servers.
To confirm that this is your email address, click here or go to this adresse (sic) and confirm your paypal account :
If you click on this link it takes you to a page that looks like this:
For full screenshot see..
A couple of tips on what to look out for in scams like this.
1. The Address Bar: The address of the page requesting your password for a financial service (or for credit card details) should always read "https://…" at the beginning of the line… note the extra "s" after the "http"… this signals that it is a Secure HTML page and therefore your details cannot be easily intercepted between your computer and the server.
2. The Address Bar: In this case the address of the page requesting your password is an un-resolved domain name… i.e. it is made up simply of numbers rather than letters… this is a bit of a warning that something fishy is going on.
3. The Page Itself - In this case the page involved has a free internet hosting service strip along the top. This is a very strong indicator you are dealing with a scamster.
Note however that a clever scamster may set up a Secure HTML page, with a properly resolved URL and an excellently designed page – all in order to execute a scam like this.
Therefore the above clues will necessarily be there to warn you about such a risk. The only way to be sure will be to check back with your provider through trusted channels, i.e. email addresses used before, or by phone.
In this case the best thing to do would be to go back to PayPal and ask their customer services helpline if your email is for real or not.