Hi Guys,

The security team at Mcafee have warned about a Paypal scam currently making the rounds and offered advice on what to watch out for. The fraud will ultimately result in your Paypal account emptying, and they will come at you in three ways. Please watch out for the following tactics:

  1. The Email

The typical part of this three-sided scam is the phishing email component. According to one source, the phishing email comes from a legitimate-looking PayPal service email address. Luckily, the typos, odd punctuation, extra spaces, and grammar errors in the body of the email give away that it is a phishing attempt. Remember, phishing emails are often worded poorly or have errors. Large companies, especially ones like PayPal, have teams of content experts vetting all automated messages for such mistakes, so several mistakes in an email should set off your alarm bells. Proceed with caution and do not click on any links in the message. 

The email also included wording that encouraged the user to act quickly or be charged a lot of money. That’s another trademark of phishing emails: urgency. Take a deep breath and make sure to reread carefully all emails that “require” a quick response. Don’t be scared by dire consequences. Phishers rely on people to rush and not give themselves time to listen to their better judgement. 

  1. The ‘One-ring’ Phone Scam

The PayPal phishing email included a support phone number that claimed it was toll free. In actuality, it was an international phone number. So, if the recipient of the phishing email didn’t quite believe the message but wanted to follow up, the scam could catch them with what’s called a one-ring phone scam.2 This occurs when someone unknowingly calls an international phone number and then gets charged by their phone company for the long-distance call. 

The best way to avoid one-ring phone scams is to never call a number you don’t recognize. Always go to an organization’s official website to find their contact information. 

  1. The Fake Fraud Hotline

The third dimension of this PayPal scam was the international phone number in the phishing email connected the caller directly with the scammer who posed as the PayPal fraud department. The “customer service representative” then asked prying personal and financial questions to glean enough PII to break into a PayPal account or compromise the caller’s identity. This is the most damaging part of the scam. An excellent customer support team may be able to reimburse you your lost money; however, once your personal details are in nefarious hands, you can’t take them back. 

In addition to never calling numbers you haven’t verified, never give out passwords and never give out more personal information than you need to. Even in legitimate customer service calls, it’s not rude to ask why the representative requires the information they’re asking for. In a fake call, questions like that may fluster the scammer, so keep an ear tuned to their tone. 

Stay safe out there during the holiday season, and let me know if you need anything.

All the best,

Max Roberts,
Incognito Privacy Care Team.