What To Do When Receiving Suspicious Email From PayPal

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I must admit that this email I received yesterday had me a little worried. Now don’t get me wrong, I get a lot of spam emails from wankers claiming to be from PayPal but they are so obviously spam that I don’t worry about them. They’re not even good enough to make them a worthwhile post on this blog. B

The following email though was different.

Hello blogster@blogsire.com,

On Oct. 12, 2009, Advantus Media, Inc. sent you a payment for $52.15 USD.

The funds have been returned to Advantus Media, Inc.’s account.

This payment was returned for the following reason(s):

You did not sign up for a PayPal account or did not complete the registration process.

Please contact Advantus Media, Inc. (paypal@advantusmedia.com) to arrange an alternate payment method.

If you have any further questions, please log in to your PayPal account and go to the History subtab. Locate this transaction and click the word “Cancelled” in the Details column.


What this email did was create doubt, and once you have that flicker of doubt you can make mistakes, like clicking on a link or something silly. That is of course their intention.

This particular email actually referred to Advantus Media, Inc, and affiliate that I often promote.  The first thing I did was log into my PayPal account and check the history. There was no record of that amount. Someone else may have panicked thinking that it was deleted and not showing up, and they may actually click on the link in the email.

Not me. I Wrote to PayPal direct and forwarded them a copy of the email and then waited patiently for their reply. This arrived in less than 24 hours.

Dear Peter P.,

Thank you for contacting PayPal.

We appreciate you bringing this suspicious email to our attention. We can confirm that the email you received was not sent to you by PayPal. The website linked to this email is not a registered URL authorised or used by PayPal. We are currently investigating this incident fully. Please do not enter any personal or financial information into this website.

If you have surrendered any personal or financial information to this fraudulent website, you should immediately log in to your PayPal account and change your password and secret question and answer information. Any compromised financial information should be reported to the appropriate parties.

If you notice any unauthorised activity associated with your PayPal transaction history, please immediately report this to PayPal by following the instructions below:

1.  Log in to your account at https://www.paypal.com/au by entering your email address and password into the Member Log In box

2.  Click on the Security Centre at the bottom of the page

3. Click on the ‘Unauthorised Transaction’ link under the Report a  Problem column

4.  Please follow the instructions in order to access the appropriate form

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us again.

Yours sincerely,
PayPal Account Review Department

PayPal Australia Pty Limited.

Copyright © 1999-2008 PayPal. All rights reserved. PayPal Australia Pty Limited ABN 93 111 195 389 (PPA) holds an Australian Financial Services Licence, number 304962. Any general financial product advice provided in this email is provided by PPA and has not taken into account your
objectives, financial situations or needs.

PayPal and its representatives will NEVER ask you to reveal your password. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy. If anyone claiming to work for PayPal asks for your password under any circumstances, by email or by phone, please refuse and immediately contact us via webform at

I’ve posted the full email so that others can be made aware of the correct procedures to follow when they come up against this sort of situation.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mitch

    I’ve received tons of those over the last couple of years. The first time you get one, you start trying to think about who might have bought something that you don’t know about. Once you really think about it, you realize it has to be a scam because you haven’t sold almost anything!

    But, like you, I knew not to click on anything. Good to share this one with others, Sire.
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..World Diabetes Day 2009 =-.

  2. BS Artist

    Yeah, the problem was this particular affiliate had been working quite well for me and so that created the initial doubt factor. Luckily I did some checking first before following through.

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