Yet another PayPal Phishing Scam

This one tells you to confirm your email address.

Did you get an email message from PayPal today? One asking you to confirm your email address?

I did. In fact, I got two — to two different email addresses, neither of which have ever been used for PayPal.

But that’s not what tipped me off to this being a scam. It was simple: I looked at the links before clicking them and saw that they led to a site that wasn’t PayPal.

Another PayPal Scam
In Mac OS, you can point to a link to see its URL. Also note the sender email address — clearly not PayPal.

I admit that this one looks pretty convincing. They got the graphics all right and there’s no obvious typos. But there is one clue in the body of the message that should raise red flags: they didn’t use my name anywhere in the message. PayPal (and my bank and other organizations in which I hold accounts) have my name and should use it on all communications, automated or not.

But of course I’d never click a link in an email message from an organization in which I have an account, would I? Would you? I hope not!

If you get an email message like this, purportedly from PayPal, that asks you to “Confirm your new email address,” either mark it as spam or just throw it out. Don’t click any links in it. In fact, if at all possible, don’t even open it at all.

Fraudulent Credit Card Charges at Tim Hortons in Canada

Have you seen this, too?

On Friday morning, I was having breakfast in Lincoln City, OR when American Express called me. Or maybe I would be more accurate to say that a machine at American Express called me. It wanted to verify charges on my credit card bill for possible fraud. I got a person on the phone and soon learned that my credit card had been used to make charges at a store in Canada. I haven’t been to Canada for some time and the charges were obviously fraudulent. American Express removed the charges from my account, cancelled my credit card, and popped a new credit card in the mail for me.

The whole process took only about 10 minutes.

Tim Horton Fraudulent Charges
Here’s part of my online statement with the fraudulent charges and foreign transaction fees highlighted. Interesting how they all seem to be for different Tim Hortons locations and all processed around the same time.

Today, while updating my Quicken records for my personal finances, I tried to download American Express data. The download wouldn’t work because the account number had changed. So I logged into the American Express website to look for the new card number. That’s when I saw nine more charges for the same company, along with nine foreign transaction fees.

Apparently, whoever made a fake credit card with my information on it has connections with the Tim Hortons restaurant chain. My card was used to process nine transactions for $145 to $150 each — all on the same day: September 26, 2013. Each charge also incurred a foreign transaction fee. The total of all this was over $1300.

Of course, I called American Express and talked to their fraud people. These transactions were immediately removed from my account, so I don’t have to worry about any liability. Another 10 minutes.

I don’t know when/where my account information was stolen. My card is always in my possession — unless I’m using it for a transaction. Either one of the companies I shopped/dined at has a crooked employee who stole the information off my card or someone has a computer program that’s able to generate valid credit card number/expiration date/CID combinations and one of them happened to be mine.

But I’m curious: if you’ve found this post through a web search, have you also been hit with fraudulent charges to a Canadian Tim Hortons? If so, please take a moment to comment with the number of charges, the type of card, and the approximate total amount of the charges.

Paypal Watch Receipt Scam

This one almost fooled me.

Will the phishing never stop? This email message, which looked remarkably legitimate to me, thanks me for sending $149.49 to a stranger for the purchase of a watch.

Paypal Watch Purchase Scam

I first received it on my iPad, which does not allow me to see where a link points to without clicking it. On my iMac, however, pointing to the link revealed that it went to a php script on a website that was definitely not PayPal.

Remember — if a suspicious email arrives, resist the urge to click a link in it. Instead, go directly to the site purportedly sending the message by typing its URL in your browser’s address bar. In this case, I simply went to, logged into my account, and checked to see if a transaction had really been processed. Of course, it had not. The whole thing was a scam.

American Express Transfer Email Message Scam

Yet another email scam — this one supposedly from American Express.

I don’t even think the bits had even finished uploading on yesterday’s scam report when this one popped into my email inbox for the same email address (which I’m probably going to turn off very shortly):

Amex Scam

Once again, it’s easy for me to recognize this as a scam:

  • Bad email address. My Amex account uses another one.
  • I don’t have an American Express Open account at all.
  • I didn’t do any Amex transfers.

The message was from a noreply address at Bebo Services. All the links point to the same page on the domain. Again, I haven’t tried the links and have no plans to do so.

At this point, if you’re blindly clicking links in any email message you get that looks the least bit suspicious, you probably deserve whatever results.

Be smart. Think before you click.

Verizon Acknowledgement Message Scam

Another email scam, this one purportedly from Verizon Wireless.

Got this message in my email inbox today:

Verizon Scam Message

This is obviously a scam. Several things tipped me off:

  • I did not recently do any new transactions with Verizon Wireless. In other words, there was no real reason to contact me.
  • The message was addressed to an email address Verizon does not have for me.
  • Pointing to any of the links in the message reveals the same destination URL on the domain — which has nothing to do with Verizon.
  • I didn’t check the account number, but I’m pretty sure mine is my phone number and it doesn’t end with 8281.
  • Poor grammar/wording indicates the person who wrote this message was not a native English speaker.

I don’t know what clicking these links does and I don’t want to know. I just want to warn others that this is yet another scam that could easily suck you in if you’re not paying attention. Think before you click!