How to recognize scams like "PayPal Escrow Account"

Also Known As: PayPal Escrow Account advance-fee scam
Damage level: Medium

What is "PayPal Escrow Account"?

We have inspected this letter and determined that it is a scam commonly referred to as an advance-fee scam. Scammers crafted this email to trick recipients into believing that they are eligible for a large compensation from the United Nations. Typically, such scams are used to extract money and (or) information from unsuspecting recipients.

PayPal Escrow Account email spam campaign

More about the "PayPal Escrow Account" scam email

The email claims to be from the United Nations/ECOWAS, promising a compensation fund of $2.9 million to the recipient via PayPal. It requests personal information (full name, email address, home address, and phone number) to set up a PayPal escrow account. However, it is an advance-fee scam aimed at obtaining the recipient's personal details and (or) extracting money.

Once they obtain the requested details, they may use them for various fraudulent activities, including identity theft and phishing attacks. Additionally, scammers behind such emails attempt to extort money from victims by requesting upfront fees or tricking them into transferring funds to cover fake expenses (e.g., administration fees) related to the promised compensation.

Recipients should be careful with such emails to avoid financial loss, identity theft, or other issues. It is important to examine emails before providing any information or making transactions.

Threat Summary:
Name PayPal Escrow Account Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipients are eligible for a compensation of a large sum of money
Disguise Letter from the desk of Lacey Tezak
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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Similar scam emails in general

Typically, scam emails like the one described in our article claim to originate from reputable organizations, companies, or individuals. They promise compensations, winnings, or inheritance as a lure. The ultimate goal is to steal information or extract money from victims. It is important to mention that such emails can contain malicious links or attachments.

Some examples of similar scams are "Government Tender Supply Project In Ghana", "Foreign Compensation Commission", and "New Investor".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

When cybercriminals intend to trick recipients into infecting computers via email, they send malicious links or files (attachments). Opening these links can lead to websites designed to trick visitors into downloading malicious files or apps or sites created to initiate malicious drive-by downloads.

Opening malicious attachments can also lead to computer infections. However, not all files infect computers immediately after opening them. For example, malicious MS Office documents infiltrate malware after enabling macros commands. Archive files cannot cause damage unless users extract their contents and execute malicious files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Refrain from opening email attachments or clicking on links from unfamiliar or suspicious addresses, especially if the emails seem unsolicited or irrelevant. Obtain software exclusively from official websites or legitimate app stores (avoid using peer-to-peer networks, dubious websites, third-party downloaders, and similar sources).

Do not install pirated software or use unofficial tools to bypass software activation. Avoid interacting with ads, pop-ups, etc., while visiting suspicious pages. Ensure your operating system, web browsers, and software are regularly updated, and utilize reputable antivirus and anti-malware programs.

If you have 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 Escrow Account" email letter:

Subject: Congratulations!

This message is coming from the desk of Lacey Tezak.
The United Nations/ECOWAS have instructed that we contact you via your
email address, and inform you that your outstanding compensation fund
worth (2,900.000.00 ) will now be paid to you via PayPal.
We are going to set up a PayPal escrow account with your provided
information, and after setting up the PayPal escrow account with your
information, we will then send you the newly set up account details
for you to log in and start your transferring to any account of yours choice.
Full Name:
Email Address:
Full Home address:
Phone Number:

Regards: Lacey Tezak.

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

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?

Scammers send identical letters to numerous recipients. They hope that at least someone will be deceived. These emails lack personalization (they rarely include the names of recipients or other details).

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

If you have shared any account credentials, change all passwords immediately. If scammers have obtained other personal information, such as credit card details or ID card information, contact the relevant authorities to mitigate potential risks or fraudulent activities.

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

If the file was executable, your computer is highly likely to have been infected. However, if it was a document file like a .pdf or .doc, you may have avoided the infection. Simply opening these documents is usually insufficient for malware to infiltrate systems.

I have sent cryptocurrency to the address presented in such email, can I get my money back?

Unfortunately, cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible. Thus, funds sent to scammers cannot be retrieved.

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

Merely opening an email is safe. Computers can only be infected if users open attached files or links.

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

Combo Cleaner is equipped to detect and remove nearly all known malware. If a computer is infected with advanced malware, it is important to run a full system scan. Usually, this kind of malware conceals itself deeply within the system.

▼ Show Discussion

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

About PCrisk

PCrisk is a cyber security portal, informing Internet users about the latest digital threats. Our content is provided by security experts and professional malware researchers. Read more about us.

Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
PayPal Escrow Account advance-fee scam QR code
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of PayPal Escrow Account advance-fee scam on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Windows malware infections today:

Download Combo Cleaner

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.