How to spot fake emails like "PayPal - You Authorised A Payment" scam email

Also Known As: PayPal - You Authorised A Payment scam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "PayPal - You Authorised A Payment"?

Our team has reviewed this letter and determined that it is a fraudulent letter purporting to be from PayPal regarding a supposed purchase. The scammers behind this scam are attempting to obtain money and (or) personal information from recipients. Recipients should ignore this email.

PayPal - You Authorised A Payment email spam campaign

More about the "PayPal - You Authorised A Payment" scam email

This is a fraudulent email claiming to be from PayPal. It falsely states that a payment of $649.99 has been made to tanyacaliff@comcast.net to purchase a 43' Class Q60A QLED 4K Smart TV (2022) with order number 87462155. The email advises recipients to contact PayPal immediately at +1-808-210-2736 if they did not authorize the payment.

The scammers behind this email probably aim to lure recipients into providing sensitive information (e.g., login credentials, ID card information, credit card details) or transferring money. They could use the provided information to steal online accounts, make fraudulent purchases and transactions, steal identities, and perform other malicious activities.

Also, they may ask to provide remote access to computers. In such cases, they could try to access personal files, inject malware, and more. Our overview of a scam where potential victims are requested to provide remote access to computers can be found here.

Threat Summary:
Name PayPal - You Authorised A Payment Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient has authorised a payment of $649.99
Scammer's Phone Number +1-808-210-2736, 1-808-229-4386, +1-833-467-2127, +1 (844) 713-1978, +1 (844) 524-6665
Disguise Letter from PayPal
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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Similar scam emails in general

Typically, scammers behind emails of this type pretend to be real people, legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities. Their emails often appear to be important/urgent/official letters. When scammers attempt to trick recipients into providing sensitive information, they usually include a link to a phishing page or ask to provide information directly via email.

Examples of scam emails are "ETH (Ethereum) Giveaway Email Scam", "New Shared Documents Email Scam", and "Anti-Fraud International Monitoring Group Compensation Email Scam". It is important to mention that cybercriminals also use email to trick recipients into infecting their computers.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cybercriminals distribute malware through emails by tricking recipients into opening malicious links or attachments. These attachments may come in various forms, such as MS Office documents, PDFs, executables, archives, JavaScript files, or ISO files.

Each type of file can infect computers differently. For example, malicious MS Office documents infect a computer when macros commands are enabled. On the other hand, executables infect a computer as soon as they are opened.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is important to exercise caution when dealing with unexpected and irrelevant emails from unknown senders, as they may contain malicious files or links. Links and files within emails should be opened only when there is no doubt that they are harmless.

Software should be downloaded from official pages and app stores. Downloads from other sources, such as Peer-to-Peer networks, third-party downloaders, shady pages, free file hosting sites, etc., should be avoided. The operating system and installed programs should always be up-to-date. A computer should have reputed antivirus software installed on it.

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 - You Authorised A Payment" email letter:

Subject: order on the way


You authorised a payment of $649.99
USD to (tanyacaliff@comcast.net)
Thanks for using PayPal.
If you havent made this purchase call PayPal immediately
at +1-808-210-2736 to report and block this transaction.


Description                                                                    Unit price     Qty     Amount

43'Class Q60A QLED 4K Smart TV (2022) (Order # 87462155 )     $649.99 USD     1     $649.99 USD
Subtotal     $649.99 USD
Total     $649.99 USD
Payment     $649.99 USD
Charge will appear on your credit card statement as "PAYPAL * Payment sent to (tanyacaliff@comcast.net)


Not sure why you received this email? Call PayPal support immediately at +1-808-210-2736.
Unsubscribe From This List | Manage Email Preferences

Another example an email from "PayPal - You Authorised A Payment" spam campaign:

PayPal - You Authorised A Payment email scam

Text presented within:

PayPal Helpline: 1-808-229-4386

You authorized a Payment of $1969.62 USD to (brecker@comcast.net)

Thank you for your order. We'll send a confirmation when your order ships.
Thanks for using PayPal. Please check the complete transaction details below:

Product. Apple MacBook Pro Laptop (Mac, 8GB RAM, 256GB HDD, Intel Core i5).
Transaction Data 2-8-2023.
Transaction ID. MPKP864/J893.
Billing Amount. $1969.62 USD.
Seller Details. brecker@comcast.net
Invoice ID. MPKP83764/J893.

Seller Instructions: To ensure your safety, the Delivery Agent will drop the package at your doorstep, ring the doorbell and then leave your package.

If you haven't made this purchase call PayPal immediately at 1-808-229-4386.
to report and block this transaction.
We hope to see you again soon.
PayPal Inc.

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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?

This email is not personal. Typically, such emails are sent to a large number of people and do not contain personal information.

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

Immediately change all passwords if you have given any account information to scammers. If other personal details (such as credit card information, ID card details, etc.) have been provided, reach out to relevant authorities as soon as possible.

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

Your computer could be infected if you have opened a malicious file attached to an email. It depends on the file type. For instance, malicious executables usually infect computers right after opening them. Malicious MS Office documents cannot cause harm until macros commands are enabled.

Was my computer actually hacked and does the sender have any information?

No, your computer was not actually hacked (or infected). Scammers could have old passwords retrieved from databases containing leaked information.

How did cyber criminals get my email password?

Cybercriminals may've gained access to your email after a data breach. Information stolen from a website you've registered to might contain login credentials. Also, cybecriminals might have the password from some phishing website (or other type of page) where it was provided

I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Just opening an email is not harmful in any way. It is clicking on links within the email or opening attachments that can result in infecting the operating system.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Combo Cleaner can detect and remove almost all known malware. However, it is important to note that advanced malware often hides deep within the system, making it essential to perform a full system scan.

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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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