How To Recognize Fraudulent PayPal and eBay Alerts

Are you one of the millions of Internet users receiving emails supposedly from PayPal or eBay with alerts that someone has added an email to your account? Do you frequently receive PayPal or eBay emails suggesting you click on the link provided to update your information? Do you receive eBay emails stating you've received a question about payment information on an item with which you are unfamiliar?

If so, you can almost certainly assume these are fraudulent emails sent out by Internet scam artists in the hopes of getting your credit card and banking information. When you receive these emails, NEVER click on the links provided. Instead forward the email to or

According to eBay and Paypal, the following are tips for identifying fraudulent emails:

1.) Neither eBay nor Paypal will ever send you an email requesting sensitive information such as your password, credit card information, routing number etc.
2.) The message usually claims urgency and importance for your quick reply, such as "Ignoring this message will result in a suspension of your account within 24 hours."
3.) The message usually starts with a generic greeting such as "Dear Paypal Member."
4.) The message usually contains links to Web pages that resemble the eBay sign-in page. (Example spoof Web link:

Within minutes of forwarding the email to either PayPal or eBay, you will receive a reply stating whether or not it is fraudulent. The following is a sample response provided by PayPal after consumers forward fraudulent PayPal emails to

Dear PayPal Member,

Thank you for contacting PayPal about a fraudulent email or Web site. We appreciate you bringing this suspicious email to our attention.

We can confirm that the email you received was not sent by PayPal. Any Web site which may be linked to this email is not authorized or used by PayPal.

Our fraud prevention team is working to disable any website linked to this email. In the meantime, please do not enter any information into this Web site. If you have already done so, you should immediately log into your PayPal account and change your password, as well as your security questions and answers. We also recommend that you contact your bank and credit card company immediately.

Please follow the instructions below to report an unauthorized transaction associated with your PayPal account:

If you are able to log into your PayPal account:

1. Log in to your account at
2. Select the "Resolution Center" subtab.
3. Click "Open a dispute."
4. Select "Unauthorized transaction," then click "Continue."
5. Enter or select the transaction ID for the transaction you would like to dispute, then click "Continue."
6. Complete the report for Unauthorized Use on a PayPal Account, then click "Continue."
7. Confirm that the claim is correct, then click "Submit."

If you cannot log in to your account, follow the instructions below to report an unauthorized transaction associated with your PayPal account:

1. Go to
2. Click on the "Security Center" link located at the bottom of any page.
3. Under the "Report a Problem" column, click on "Unauthorized Transaction."
4. Click "Continue" under "Unable to log in?"
5. Confirm that the transaction in question is unauthorized then click "Continue."
6. Complete the report for Unauthorized Use on a PayPal Account, then click "Preview."
7. Confirm that the claim is correct, then click "Submit."
8. Confirm your account ownership by entering the financial information requested, then click "Continue."

Lastly, we recommend taking a few steps to protect yourself from identity theft:

1. Download the SafetyBar, a toolbar for Outlook and Outlook Express, which identifies known spoof emails.
2. Get eBay Toolbar with Account Guard which warns you when you're on a potentially fraudulent (spoof) Web site.
3. Sign up for Equifax Credit Alerts for PayPal Users, a program that provides an early warning detection system in the event of identity theft. Find out more by visiting the PayPal Identity Protection Center at
4. Frequently monitor your PayPal account for suspicious activity.

For additional tips please visit the PayPal Security Center at

Thank you again for sending us your report. We appreciate your efforts to keep PayPal safe.


PayPal Account Review Department

Posted September 2006 | Permanent Link

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