PayPal Phishing

I recently got a spoofed email attempting to phish my PayPal account details. I think of myself as pretty adept at identifying phishing emails but this one came at just the right time. This email came from PayPal’s abuse department, indicating that there was some recent suspicious activity on my account and provided a link where I could log in and presumably verify my information.

The day before, I had sent off payment in Euros to a developer in France that I had sub-contracted some work to (foreigners never give me quotes in US dollars these days). So my first thought upon seeing this email was that maybe since I never conducted any transactions with people in France in Euros, they flagged this as being suspicious. Which seems pretty reasonable.

So I clicked the link but before the page even finished loading, Firefox’s built in phishing filter popped up a warning about the site and I closed the site. Actually I didn’t need Firefox anyway because the site wasn’t even on a PayPal domain. I immediately noticed an extremely suspicious URL. But it was nice anyway that Firefox automatically warned me. I actually was not aware Firefox had a built in phishing filter.

I just wanted to share that. It goes to show anyone could potentially get fooled. This one happened to come at just the right time. Any other time I would’ve probably deleted the email because the email headers showed it wasn’t from PayPal. I’ve been exchanging a lot of emails for a project I’m working on right now so I was skimming through my emails fairly quickly and carelessly failed to notice the email was fake.

Just know that PayPal would never ask for your account details through email. And if you click on a link and it’s not a PayPal domain, it’s probably a scam. Actually I remember a while back reading about some more complex scams involving DNS spoofing/poisoning so that it appeared you were actually on PayPal.com but you really were on a fake site. I’m too lazy to dig up that info. Anyway, the point is just be careful. The best way is just to actually type in the PayPal URL and log in from there.

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