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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Doremus

Email Scam - do you know how to tell?

Updated: Jun 27, 2023


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Every single day without fail I receive numerous emails in my SPAM folder and I glance through them just in case something went there that should not have. This rarely happens unless it is someone who uses a service to send mail to a big list instead of just emailing it themselves (Constant Contact is one of them).

So today in my INBOX I noticed numerous emails from PayPal. That is not surprising because I use the PayPal service quite often as a form of payment. But these stood out because they mentioned an invoice that I needed to pay. Mind you, I also had a valid email from PayPal with an invoice to pay for a class I am taking the end of July.

So how do you tell what is fake and what is real? Take a look at the two images below:

In the first image, other than the fact that I have no idea who Matthew Mell is nor did I order anything that has not been taken care of. In the second one, just the emoji being used in the title is enough to set my SCAM bells ringing. But even beyond that there is a way to tell. First off, PayPal always has my name on their emails (not PayPala Customer). PayPal asks you to sign in to your account and click on any open invoices. They do not put in links. The subject is ridiculous and something else that PayPal will not do. Next to the to field is a name and a down arrow indicator. When I click that I am presented with more information about the email (see image below). Even though they are using the logo that PayPal uses, and are pretending to be from service@paypal.com, PayPala is not a real company and is definitely not PayPal.

In the box that opens, I see each of these was sent to someone with a bogus email address. Even if it was a real address (which I highly doubt) there is just too much that is wrong with it.

So how do you handle these types of emails so that you can be part of the solution to getting them to stop?

  1. Go to the website and sign into your account (in this case it is PayPal)

  2. If everything looks okay there, good. Return to the emails.

  3. FORWARD the suspicious emails to phishing@paypal.com (if you do not know the reporting address for who is being spoofed, send it to phishing.report@mail.cisa.dhs.gov at our government website that handles phishing.

  4. Report the phishing attempts to your email provider. (in my case it is Gmail)

  5. and if you are worried you may have been compromised in some way, visit this site for more information on how to recover, protect, and report abuses: https://www.cisa.gov/be-cyber-smart/report-incident

We go out of our way to try and keep our customers safe using education, social media and through the sale of Internet Security software that works to keep the vulnerabilities off your computer to begin with. If you would like to know more about this software, stop in or call our office during business hours. We want you to be safe and enjoy your computer.

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