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Warning - false emails, said to be from Paypal

I get a LOT of spam emails - phishing trips by people looking to steal my identity - asking me to confirm my details with the likes of E-bay, Paypal and half the banks in the world. The idea of the spammers is that you go on to what looks like the company's site to confirm you details but really you're on their site - with the same buttons, look and feel that you may be used to - and by submitting your login information you're giving them access.

There's a similar scam - I've seen before but suddenly had a batch in the last 24 hours - which tells me about a Paypal transaction I'm said to have made, and asks me to dispute the transaction if I don't agree it. This is likely to be an attempt at identity theft - a phishing trip - too and you should NOT follow any of the links offered.

Here is what my sample looked like.

Warning - this is a scam


My advise is to ignore these emails, but I'm slightly concerned in offering that advise as it's highly unlikrly, but possible, that such an email could be providing you with a warning that someone has already got into your account. You must make your own decision what to do (this is my "limitation of liablilty" statement!!).

Personally, if in doubt I "view raw source" and / or "complete headers" of the email and look for clues such as

Received: from apache by sv1.pacificasia.com.sg with local (Exim 4.60) (envelope-from ) id 1GM78A-0003LT-FD for info@wellho.net; Sun, 10 Sep 2006 02:00:38 +0800

as the last "received" header which tell me that the message cam from Singapore and

<a href="http://203.115.31.108/Sea%20Level/.www.paypal.com/us/login_secure/"><span class="ppem106">Dispute Transaction</span></a>

as the HTML that created the "Dispute Transaction" button ... the numbered IP address is clearly wrong (but beware - this button could have a rogue named server similar to Paypal's).

If still in doubt and you really feel you need to contact Paypal, do so by connecting to their system via your normal link or another route and absolutely NOT through any link in the email you've just received. Chances are, though, you are needlessly worrying - millions of false emails go out every day.
(written 2006-09-09, updated 2006-09-10)

Commentatorsays ...
Bruce James:The clues in the 'Dear Paypal Member' bit.. Real paypal would know your name, surely?
(comment added 2006-09-11 14:47:51)
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