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Do not trust fake "PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed" emails

Also Known As: "PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed" spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed"?

After inspecting the "PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed" email, we determined that it is spam. This fake email is presented as a notification from PayPal informing the recipient of a successfully processed order. This mail aims to trick users into calling the provided telephone number and entangle them in a meandering scam.

It must be emphasized that these emails are in no way associated with the actual PayPal Holdings, Inc.

PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed email spam campaign

"PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed" email scam overview

The email with the subject "invoice #867416874178" (may vary) informs the recipient that their order has been received and processed. The letter states that it might take a couple of minutes for the transaction to appear on the recipient's PayPal account.

The fake order was supposedly made at the Bitcoin Exchange for 849.96 in total. If the recipient wishes to open a dispute, they have 24 hours to do so by calling the listed number. As mentioned in the introduction, this spam email is not associated with the real PayPal Holdings, Inc.

Most often, emails of this kind operate as refund scams. Typically, after the user calls the scammers' number - they receive instructions on how to allow the cyber criminals to remotely access their device (e.g., with the aid of AnyDesk, TeamViewer, UltraViewer, etc.). The fake "support" claims that they will aid with the refund process.

The victim is usually asked to log into a finance-related account such as their bank, online money transferring service (e.g., PayPal), or similar.

To further the scheme, the criminals use the remote access program's feature to darken the victim's screen and ask them to type the refund amount. Regardless of whether the user enters the correct sum, the scammers proclaim that they have made an error and were transferred too much.

This deception is pulled off while the screen is darkened, either by moving the victim's funds in-between their accounts (e.g., from savings to checking) or by editing the bank site's HTML code. In the latter case, only the number displayed on the account is changed, and the funds themselves are not affected in any way; refreshing the page is enough to reveal that the account was unaffected.

The scammers then plead with the user to return the nonexistent excess funds while also guilting them with sob stories about how the "support agent" will be fired from their position. The cyber criminals request the excess to be transferred using difficult/impossible to trace methods, e.g., hidden in innocent-looking packages and shipped, cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, gift cards, etc. This ensures that the victims could not return their funds, and the criminals could not be persecuted.

In summary, victims of this type of scam lose their money since the entire refund process was fake and no amount was ever transferred into their accounts.

It is worth mentioning that emails like "PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed" may operate as phishing scams. In other words, victims may be tricked into disclosing private information by word, typing it when scammers claim it is invisible, or entering it into phishing sites/files (e.g., disguised as log-in pages of online banks, money transferring accounts, etc.).

Cyber criminals can sell or abuse the obtained information. For example, scammers can use stolen finance-related accounts to make unauthorized transactions and/or online purchases.

It has to be mentioned that successfully scammed victims are often targeted repeatedly. Since the email in question is disguised as a notification from PayPal - it is possible that it targets these accounts; it also indicates that the fake purchase was made at the Bitcoin Exchange - hence, the scam may seek to steal cryptocurrency wallets as well.

By trusting spam emails like "PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed" - users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have disclosed account credentials to scammers - change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if the exposed data is of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

If you have permitted cyber criminals to remotely access your device, you must first disconnect it from the Internet (since your permission may be unnecessary for them to reconnect). Secondly, uninstall the remote access software the scammers used. And lastly, use an anti-virus to perform a full system scan and eliminate all detected threats.

Threat Summary:
Name "PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed" spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's order has been successfully processed.
Disguise Notification from PayPal.
Scammer Phone Number +1(877)206-7865
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Spam campaigns in general

We have analyzed thousands of spam emails; "Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection", "Your Order Is Processed", and "Norton Order Confirmation" are a few examples of scam letters similar to "PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed", while "Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19", "Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages", "I Paid For Products From Your Store", "YouTube Copyright Infringement Warning" - are some of our latest finds.

In addition to various scams, spam mail is also used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, and other malware. Due to how widespread and well-disguised this mail can be, we strongly advise exercising caution with incoming emails and messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can contain virulent files in the form of attachments or download links. These files can be executables, archives, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc.

Once an infectious file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - malware download/installation processes are initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We advise against opening the attachments/links found in dubious mail (e.g., emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages) since they can be malicious and cause system infections. It is essential to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions, as they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.

However, malware is not spread only through spam mail. Therefore, we also recommend downloading only from official/verified channels and activating/updating software with legitimate tools (illegal activation tools ["cracks"] and third-party updaters may contain malware).

Furthermore, it is crucial to be cautious when browsing since fraudulent/malicious content usually appears genuine and harmless.

We must stress the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and updated. Security programs must be used to run regular system scans and to remove threats and issues. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "PayPal - Your Order Is Already Processed" scam email letter:

Subject: invoice #867416874178


PayPal
Invoice ID -PA80-9856-30258974


Hello


We are glad to receive your order. Your Order is already processed.Thank you purchasing with us.


September 22, 2022
Purchase ID: 85269374R
It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in account.


Order Details:
Your order at Bitcoin Exchange (632548). 849.96
Subtotal 849.96
Payment 849.96


Issue with this transaction?
You have 24 hours from the data of this transaction to open a dispute
+1(877)206-7865


Please do not reply this Email. This mailbox is not monitored and you will not receive a response. For assistance Call +1(877)206-7865

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Cyber criminals distribute these emails in mass-scale operations - therefore, thousands of users receive identical messages.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?

If you have provided log-in credentials - immediately change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support. And if you've disclosed other private data (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact relevant authorities without delay.

I have allowed cyber criminals to remotely access my computer, what should I do?

If you have allowed cyber criminals to access your computer remotely, you must immediately disconnect it from the Internet. Afterward, remove the remote access software used by the criminals (e.g., TeamViewer, UltraViewer, AnyDesk, etc.). Since the scammers could have stealthily infected your device, run a full system scan with an anti-virus and use it to eliminate all threats.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, merely reading a spam email is not enough to trigger any system infection processes. These chains are jumpstarted when the attachments or links found in spam mail are opened/clicked.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?

Whether an infection occurred might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - your device was infected. However, document formats (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.) may require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to start downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to detect and eliminate threats. It can remove nearly all known malware infections. However, since high-end malicious programs tend to hide deep within systems - performing a full system scan is essential for their detection.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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