A new phishing scam is making the rounds – and if you use PayPal, you could fall victim.
The e-mail looks like it is from PayPal's account review team, and states that the site's security system has "blocked unusual charges to a credit card linked to your account." The message further states that there has been an intrusion to the e-mail recipient's account, and it appears that someone has tried to use your account. The e-mail contains a handy attachment which, after you download it, will allow you to enter information and take steps to "restore your account success."
When you receive a message such as this, you would immediately want to make sure your account is safe and the emotional rush that comes in a moment like this can cloud your judgment.
PayPal has the controls in place to prevent fraudulent transactions, but their system isn't foolproof. This is where this particular scam shows its effectiveness. Since you trust PayPal to protect your account, and the scam e-mail says PayPal has locked your account for your protection, you're more apt to fall for it.
The information requested in this scam includes cardholder name, birth date, mother's maiden name, Social Security number and home telephone number. It also asks for your home address. The form does not ask for a PayPal e-mail address.
When you receive e-mails and you don't know where they came from, do not click on links included in the e-mail or download anything. If you are unsure whether it came from the source it claims, contact the source directly and ask. In this case, you could look up PayPal and contact them directly, using contact information from PayPal's official site, not from the e-mail you received.
The best advice when you receive unsolicited e-mails? When in doubt, don't.