A baffling email popped up in my inbox.
The subject line read: “Buyer Refund – Case Resolution – Response Required.”
The message landed as a priority alert, with an angry red exclamation point.
The return address was “email@example.com” – at least, that’s how it appeared in my inbox.
But there was something strange about this.
Inside, the message read: “Sorry, message content could not be displayed.”
Now that part wasn’t all that unusual. That happens all the time with emails that have too much visual content. I have to give permission to display the images.
Then, over a link, it read, “Show original message.”
Sure, I’ll just cl –
— wait a minute.
What’s going on here?
That return email address? When I let my cursor hover over it in the body of the email, it now said “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
So which was it, Paypal or eBay? I haven’t sold anything on eBay in at least two years, and my last purchase there, while recent, went smoothly. I knew I wasn’t the focus of a case dispute, and I certainly hadn’t instigated one.
I let my cursor hover over that link asking to display the original message.
It pointed to a scam site.
The purpose of this email was either to hit me with a virus or, more likely, to trick me into giving up my PayPal/eBay account details so it could hijack my accounts.
My email controls typically catch this sort of nefarious spam, but this was a nasty bit of business that almost got me to click through. It was short and to the point and took advantage of one’s natural curiosity about a supposed complaint.
The experience is a good reminder to ignore any strange emails. If any email asks for personal information, skip the embedded links and go straight to the original, secure website to verify information.
I can only imagine that Russian hackers have felt emboldened with their many recent victories. Let’s keep them starving, shall we?
2 thoughts on “Don’t Fall for this Scam Email”
There’s so much crap email, I’d rather delete something suspicious than worry if it’s legit. Even with virus protection, you can’t be too careful.
That’s true, Brian. I did pass this one along to PayPal, and as I suspected, reps confirmed this was a fraud.