PayPal Phishing Scheme: BEWARE!Caitlin Sasser
Last month we wrote about the Gmail phishing scheme, and it looks like that’s not the only one to watch out for! News has been popping up all over the internet to watch out for the newest PayPal phishing scheme. Most phishing scams simply want to steal your login information to make changes to your account or steal your payment information but this one is proving more sinister. It seems the scammers behind the current PayPal phishing scheme are trying to get enough information to steal your entire identity. Most consumers are going to be asking what exactly are these scams? How do I spot one? And how do we protect ourselves?
The PayPal phishing scheme is much like most phishing schemes in most ways. Consumers are receiving an official-looking email claiming that their account use has been limited because of “unusual activity”. In the email they are advised to click on a link to contact PayPal in order to resolve the issue. Once the user clicks on the link they are brought to a website where they are asked to log into PayPal, then they are redirected to an official looking PayPal warning page, which explains why their account was restricted and how to get the account back. At this point the scammers already have your PayPal log in information, but in order to ‘regain access’ to your account they require you to fill out another page which includes questions like your name, address, mother’s name, and social security number, things that PayPal never requires. Because of the questions these scammers are asking, it’s easy to assume they want more than to steal your credit card information and wrack up a load of bills on you. They want to steal identities!
The good news is there are ways to protect yourself and you don’t have to be all that tech-savvy to do it! The most effective ways are simply to use common sense and stay vigilante when you go through your emails. A lot of phishing scams are easily caught just by paying attention to the emails themselves. An email that is part of a phishing scheme will usually have small grammatical and spelling errors. Errors that big companies would never allow in the emails they send out. Also, if you notice an email address you don’t recognize, you’re better off marking it spam than opening the email and clicking on it’s links, even if it does mention issues with your accounts. The safest way to be sure what’s going on with any account you may have on any website is to go directly to the website in question. Instead of clicking on links to the site in a questionable email, go to your address bar and type in the link to the direct website. If your account has an issue, you’ll be notified when you try to log in.
Our job here at Geek Choice is more than just to be a place you can come into to get your laptop fixed. An important part of our job is to keep our customers and the general public up to date with what scams, schemes, viruses, and malware to be aware of. The more people who know what threats are out there and what to look for to spot a scam, the less these cyber criminals can take advantage of. The best way to minimize the threat of being fooled by a scammer or getting a bad virus is to be pro-active. Stay educated on threats, change your password regularly, keep from saving any important account passwords in your browsers, and don’t open emails you are wary of. Also, for simple website issues always remember that most companies have IT support or customer representatives you can contact and with any questions you have. And if you ever find yourself having a bigger issue, like a virus, call on a professional. Bring your computer into a computer service shop, or call a mobile company like Geek Choice for in home computer repair.