Beware of this PayPal scam!
I received a text message today from a phone number local to my area. It said “We’ve noticed some unusual activity on your account, for your protection your PayPal account is now limited. To restore access please visit the secure link provided and complete the steps necessary.” and then it listed a URL.
This is a SCAM!! DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK. Merely clicking an unknown link like this can result in virus or spyware being downloaded to your device.
There are plenty of other scams just like this one. They can be sent to you in the form of text messages, phone calls, snail mail, email or even pop-ups that appear on your device. Sometimes they look very convincing. You might think, “Well how do they know I have a PayPal account?” or “How do they know I just shipped something?”
The answer is… they don’t! They send these scams to thousands of people and at least some of them are going to have PayPal accounts or have just shipped something or are expecting a package or whatever the scam is claiming is wrong. So they are “Phishing!” A few people may fall for the scam and click the link, or call the # or whatever fake remedy they are giving you. For those unlucky few who do fall for it, the scammers may even have a little bit of your personal info that they may have gotten via public records or from things you put online. This leads the unsuspecting consumer to be even more hooked into thinking this is legitimate. Scammers and hackers can VERY easily trick people.
SO HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
If you ever get a message or email or letter or pop-up warning you of something wrong with an account or even looking like a renewal bill (I’ve seen a lot of those especially fake domain name renewals) that you feel could be real, DO NOT CLICK OR CALL the # given… Instead go to the account directly and log in with the link or phone # you normally use. For instance, go directly to PayPal by using the link paypal.com; or use the link or phone # shown on your credit card statement. By going to your accounts directly, you are ensuring that you are talking to, or logged into, the correct account and not talking to a scammer.
AND WHAT ABOUT PHONE CALLS?
If you ever answer the phone and someone claims to want to speak with you about an account, whether it be a web site, a domain registration, your health insurance, donating to an organization, or whatever it may be, NEVER give them any information. Simply ask what the call is in reference to and then hang up and call a phone # that you KNOW FOR CERTAIN is connected to that company by looking on your statements or using known links.
NEVER give information over the phone when someone calls you. ALWAYS call back to a known phone number for the account and ask to speak to a representative.