Where there’s money, there will be people looking to take advantage and steal it. It’s a sad fact, but it remains a fact nonetheless, and when it comes to online payments, there’s none bigger than PayPal.
Here in the UK there are millions of PayPal customers, each with bank accounts linked to their PayPal accounts and many with money sat in their account. Understandably, that can make them quite the target for scammers and hackers, who can use that information to buy goods online, send money or commit other types of financial fraud.
Over the years we’ve seen countless hacking attempts come and go, but a new effort has caught a number of customers out across the UK. It involves a fake email and has been a major problem for Action Fraud UK, the government’s cyber-crime agency.
The email arrives in your inbox like any other and informs PayPal customers that their account has been limited because they’ve failed to secure their account. It then asks customers to click a link to secure the account, where they’re prompted to give over sensitive data to resolve the issue.
Speaking to the Mirror, a PayPal spokesman said it would never get in touch with a customer over email and would always use their secure messaging service, found on their website or in the app.
“At PayPal we go to great lengths to protect our customers in the UK, but there are still a few, simple precautions we should all take to avoids scams”, the spokesman said.
“All communications to account holders regarding an account limitation would be sent to the secure message centre within their PayPal account.
“Should the account holder wish to verify the status of their PayPal account they should log into their account”, he added.
The Deputy Head at Action Fraud, Steve Proffitt said: “Fraudsters are increasingly targeting people with very professional looking emails warning that online accounts have been compromised and asking you to click on links to verify your details.
“Action Fraud is now warning people about fake emails that appear to have been sent from PayPal. These emails ask you to log in and review your PayPal account. It is difficult to know if they are fake as they look so professional.
“If you have received one of these fake emails, we are advising people not to follow the links in the email as by logging into your account, you are providing fraudsters with your login details which gives them access to your account.
“Always contact the fraud department of the organisation directly from the contact details you have on your statements or bank card and explain the contents of the email you have received.
Ultimately, the best advice for customers of any bank or online service is to be cautious whenever you’re being contacted. Nothing ever needs resolving instantly, so take the time to really examine the email you’ve received. If in doubt find a verified contact PayPal number and contact the company. They’ll let you know instantly whether the email was genuine.