I received an email yesterday saying that my PayPal account got limited. At first I was thinking what is that? I mean I never expect I too will received this email from PayPal. I was a bit worry on the limited access as most of the online business owner knew that this is the major payment processor we use online. Later I found out this appeared to be one of the phishing email that send out by a guy named Ryan Gunness (according to the whois record) and it sound like the following email screenshot.

paypal-fraud-email

To give you further idea on how does this phishing email sound like, here is what it asks you to do in order to restore your account. In the email, it ask me to submit the following documents to PayPal for verifications.

1) Personal identification - a copy of one photographic ID from the following list:
- Passport - Driving license - National Identification card

2) Address verification - a copy of one of the following (online statements not accepted):
- Utility bill - less than 3 months old
- Bank statement - less than 3 months old

Completing all of the checklist items will automatically restore your account access.

I don’t know what is he going to do with all my personal documents but certainly disclose all these personal information will further expose to unknown dangers that will eventually give me losses.

After study the email contents, I managed to identify this is a fraud email based on the 6 points below.

1. The email is not sending out from actual PayPal email. In the sender information, it is service@paypail.com Vs service @ paypal . com.

2. It provides an fraud case ID. I checked in my account based on the ID provided and I can’t found the record.

3. Another fraud email provided in the email: security@paypalfraudcheck.com Vs security or service @ paypal.com.

4. The way to remove the limit access is simply unreasonable. The email said this: “completing all of the checklist items will automatically restore your account access”.

5. Last but not least, he send to my primary email address instead of my paypal email address.

Think about it, if you account is being limited access, that means your account is under monitor by Paypal, there is no way it will restore automatically by simply submit the documents. I am sure Paypal will go through the manual verification process in order to remove that access.

6. To further confirm it is a phishing email, I went to do domain whois check on the domain names provided. This screenshot below confirm that this domain is not belong to PayPal.

domain-whois-check

I have a few tips for you in order to stay away being victims of this phising email:

1) Don’t use your primary email account as your paypal account email address

I knew this and I never use the same email address for communication and payment processor. You should use different email address for payment / collection.

2) Never reply by clicking the provided website url or email address

A lot of people simply can’t differentiate this! They just click on the link provided and the website link isn’t send them to the original site but to the phishing site which basically setup and collect your personal information such as username, password, personal documents, etc.

3) Go through the screening above before follow the instruction and replying to the phishing email

The screening above will at least help you reduce the risk on being victim of similar activities. Of course this checklist I suggested above is based on my personal experience and I would suggest to do tip no. 3 before replying.

4) Check with the official Paypal staff

You can always go to Paypal website and contact the staffs. They are more happy to help you to clarify all these. So, if you have similar problem, make sure you enter Paypal website and write to them.

Next time, if you received any email similar to this, don’t panic! Make sure you do your checking before you disclose any information.

P/S: Did you realise that I didn’t put a direct link to Paypal website here? It is simply because I don’t want you to click from the link and visit the website. You should start practice the habit to type in the web browser.