Protect Yourself from Fraudulent Emails
What is a fraudulent email?
A fraudulent (spoof) email pretends to be from a well-known company, such
as PayPal or eBay, in an attempt to get personal information from you.
People who send spoof emails hope to use your information - such as credit
and debit card numbers or account passwords - to commit identity theft.
You can prevent spoof from affecting you
Spoof, or "phishing," emails - and the spoof websites often associated
with them - are deceptive in appearance. However, they contain content
that reveals they're fake. The most important thing to do to protect
yourself is be able to spot this misleading content.
Know a spoof when you see it...
What to watch out for
- Generic greetings. Many spoof
emails begin with a general greeting, such as: "Dear PayPal member."
- A false sense of urgency. Most
spoof emails try to deceive you with the threat that your account is in
jeopardy if you don't update it ASAP.
- Fake links. The text in a link
may attempt to look valid, then send you to a spoof address. Always
check where a link is going before you click. Move your mouse over it
and look at the URL in your browser or email status bar. If the link
looks suspicious, don't click on it. And be aware that a fake link may
even have the word "PayPal" in it.
Learn more ways to spot spoof
10 ways to recognize fake (spoof) emails now.
Questions PayPal will never ask you in an email
To help you better identify fake emails, we follow strict rules. We will
never ask for the following personal information in emails:
- Credit and debit card numbers
- Bank account numbers
- Driver's License numbers
- Email addresses
- Your full name
Ways to fight spoof
- Report it. Forward the entire
email - including the header information - or the site's URL to email@example.com
We investigate every spoof reported. Please note that the automatic
response you get from us may not address you by name.
- Use Account Guard on the eBay toolbar.
If you use Internet Explorer, download the eBay toolbar. Account Guard
helps ensure you are on PayPal or eBay.
the eBay toolbar now
- Use the SafetyBar. Email security
provider Cloudmark has engineered a toolbar for Microsoft Outlook you
can use to report spoof emails. Should you receive a spoof, click the
SafetyBar's "Block Fraud" button to automatically report it to us.
Download the Cloudmark SafetyBar now
We're dedicated to protecting you
PayPal works hard to educate you on the best ways to recognize and fight
spoof. Learn more about how
PayPal fights fraud for you around the clock.
Steps to take to prevent spoof from affecting you
- Keep your security software current.
Update your firewalls and security patches frequently. Consider using
software from companies like McAfee and Symantec.
- Monitor your account. Check your
account periodically to see if there is any suspicious activity.
- Change your password often. And,
if you think your security may have been breached, create a new password
- Use a unique password. Your
PayPal password should be one-of-a-kind, and not used on any of your
other accounts. A good password contains letters and numbers. This makes
it more difficult for people to guess it.
- Take action. If your information
is compromised, get a fraud alert placed on your credit report.
Get more information on how to prevent fraud
To download security tools, report fraud, and learn more about how we
protect you, visit the
PayPal Security Center today.
Why Am I Getting All This Spam?