An unfortunately clever new form of ransomware uses a PayPal phishing page in an attempt to steal your credit card information. Learn about this cyberattack to recognize it and avoid being scammed by it.
What Does the Scam Entail?
Like most other forms of ransomware, this new PayPal phishing scam usually claims victims via email. You’ll receive an email, open an infected attachment and see a message that your computer has been locked. You will then be asked to pay a ransom to unlock your files.
The ransom message is where things get interesting. There’s an option to pay by Bitcoin, which is similar to most other ransomwares, but there’s also a PayPal option. Clicking this option takes you to a website that actually looks like PayPal. However, you will be asked to enter your credit card information as a security check, where the hackers will steal it.
How to Avoid the PayPal Phishing Scam
1. Exercise Email Caution
Assume any suspicious emails you receive are fake. Don’t click any links or open any attachments it contains.
The easiest way to avoid being scammed by any sort of ransomware is by simply to avoid opening it in the first place.
2. Look for a Logo
Although the fake PayPal page looks remarkably real, it doesn’t actually have a PayPal logo on it right now. That could change, of course, if the hackers decide to add it at some point.
If you do end up clicking the link in the ransom message and you don’t see PayPal’s logo displayed on the page you’re taken to, it’s most definitely a fake.
3. Check the URL
The address you’re sent to if you click the PayPal link in the ransom message begins with “http://ppyc” and then a string of letters and numbers.
Actually PayPal addresses are hosted on the paypal.com domain and any pages that ask you for personal information always begin with “https://”.
4. Read the Writing
The written content on the PayPal phishing page is a little suspicious. Currently, there’s a section that reads “You can not access all your PayPal advantages, due to account limited.” It’s not exactly grammatically correct.
5. Login via PayPal
If you’re really unsure and think the ransomware email might be real, log into your actual PayPal account (if you have one) and check the Resolution Center. There probably won’t be anything there, indicating that someone has tried to scam you.
While it’s not a particularly sophisticated form of ransomware, the PayPal phishing scam is a clever one. Use the above tips to make sure you don’t hand over sensitive information to criminals by accident.