Protect Your Online Accounts from Phishing Scams
What is phishing? Phishing involves the sending of an e-mail
falsely claiming to be from an established legitimate enterprise
in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private
information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail
directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to
update personal information, such as passwords and credit card,
social security number, and bank account numbers. It is
relatively simple to make a Web site look like the legitimate
site by mimicking the HTML code or by framing parts of the
Many people fall victim to email scams designed to steal log-in
information for accounts such as PayPal, eBay, online banking
accounts and more. Scammers send emails to every address they
can obtain so you may receive these even if you dont have an
account with the targeted enterprise, site or company.
The scam emails keep getting better and better in their
appearance. You may receive an email that pretends to be sent
from eBay. The email will have all the appropriate logos and
will often be formatted in the same way. The links within the
email can even appear to be directed to legitimate pages within
For example, e-mails supposedly from eBay claim that the user's
account is about to be suspended unless they clicked on the
provided link and updated the credit card information.
Recently I received an email claiming to be from PayPal. It
appears to be a receipt for an eBay purchase that I know nothing
about. The subject line is "Receipt for Your Payment"
The body of the email included a description of the ebay item
that had alledgedly been purchased using my PayPal account.
Below that was a notice that said:
Note: If you haven't authorized this charge, click the link
below to dispute transaction and get full refund
I wonder how many people receiving a similar email would
quickly click on the link provided in order to contest the
OK, I know to be cautious with this sort of thing so I did not
click on anything in the email. Instead I went to PayPal on my
own and logged in. Guess what? There is no record there of the
Then I started looking at the formatting of the email. When I
viewed the properties of the message I found that it was
actually from a takethatfanclub.com sender and NOT paypal. Just
because it says that it is from such and such.com at the top of
the email doesn't always mean that is who it is from. The "From"
name in an email can easily be altered.
This email was formatted more like a received payment PayPal
email than it was an actual receipt. I looked at all of my other
emails titled "Receipt for your payment" and not one of the
others was formatted like this one.
Other types of scams that involve PayPal usually involve a
message about unauthorized access attempts. The sender will tell
you that someone has tried to get into your account. As a result
your account is in danger of being "frozen". However if you
click the link in the email (You are told) you will be able to
enter your password to avoid the loss of your account.
Naturally, those unfortunate enough to give their log in
information will have given it to strangers.
Remember that this is not limited to PayPal. Users of Storm
Pay, e gold, eBay and more will see similar emails.
Watch out for scams like this that are designed to trick you
into submitting information (like passwords) to allow the sender
to access your account. Whenever you receive any suspiscious
messages go to your account via a new browser and by typing in
the url. Never click a link in an email that is supposed to take
you to your PayPal account. If you make that the rule then your
account information (and funds!) will be much safer.