How to spot fake letters like "PayPal Confirmation Notification" scam email

Also Known As: PayPal Confirmation Notification phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "PayPal Confirmation Notification"?

We have examined this email and found that it is a fake confirmation notification supposedly from PayPal. Scammers behind this email are likely attempting to trick recipients into providing sensitive information, transferring money, or taking other actions. Recipients are strongly advised not to respond to this email.

PayPal Confirmation Notification email spam campaign

More about the "PayPal Confirmation Notification" scam email

This scam email is disguised as a confirmation notification for a transaction allegedly made on May 31, 2024 (the date in this email might vary). It states that a Premium Plus Plan has been automatically applied to the recipient's application based on a digital signature submitted during initial software installation.

The email contains a product invoice for Windows Defender, $349.99 USD, an authorization code, and a process ID. It also contains a phone number (+1 (808) 201-8291), purportedly belonging to PayPal's team.

When contacted, scammers may try to trick unsuspecting individuals into paying them money, providing sensitive information (like credit card details or ID card information), downloading malicious software, or providing remote access to their computers. It is important to note that allowing scammers to access computers remotely may have various negative consequences.

With access to computers, scammers may look for personal information, from passwords to financial details, send malicious files or links to other people, download malware (e.g., ransomware) on computers, or perform other malicious actions. Thus, emails of this type should be ignored to avoid possible consequences.

Threat Summary:
Name PayPal Confirmation Notification Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim The Premium Plus Plan has been automatically applied to the recipient's application
Fake Number + 1 (808) 201-8291
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, emails of this type impersonate trusted entities, such as banks, social media platforms, email service providers, or other entities. They often include real logos or other elements. Moreover, scammers behind such emails often create a sense of fear or urgency to lure recipients into acting quickly.

It is important to note that such emails can contain links or attachments and can be used to deliver malware. Some examples of scam emails are "Asia Pacific Lottery Email Scam", "Specification For The Item Requested Email Scam", and "PayPal Escrow Account Email Scam".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cybercriminals aiming to distribute malware often send emails containing malicious attachments or links. Upon opening these attachments, computers can be infected immediately or after further actions, depending on the file type. Most threat actors attach malicious MS Office documents, PDFs, archives, executables, or script files to their emails.

When users click on malicious links in deceptive emails, they may be directed to pages designed to prompt them to download harmful files or programs, or they may be led to sites that automatically download malware without requiring any action from the user.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Exercise caution when downloading software or files online. Ensure they come from reputable sources like official websites or app stores, and avoid suspicious sources such as peer-to-peer networks, pirated software, or cracking tools. Also, regularly update your operating system, software, and antivirus programs.

Exercise caution when encountering unexpected emails or messages with links or attachments. Avoid advertisements, pop-ups, or similar content found on dubious websites. Furthermore, employ a dependable security program and conduct regular scans on your computer.

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 Confirmation Notification" email letter:


Confirmation Notification

Date: May 31, 2024
Transaction ID: T36JS39SJ29263F2
Amount: 349.99 USD
Subscription Duration: 3 Years

Dear user,
Based on the digital signature that you submitted when the software initially installed, the Premium Plus Plan has been automatically applied to your application.

Product Invoice Amount Authorization Code
Windows Defender $349.99 USD AZ769287A8Z

Process ID bc1qp5f7lyar0y5xydhsu3d09edkd8hlwmkwjygyq7


Get in touch with a member of our team today!

Phone Number: + 1 (808) 201-8291

Thank You!

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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?

Phishing emails lack personalization. These messages are distributed on a large scale, resulting in thousands of users receiving identical content.

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

If you have shared usernames, passwords, or similar details, immediately change all passwords to prevent unauthorized account access. If you have divulged other personal information like credit card or ID card details, promptly notify the appropriate authorities.

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

The risk of infection varies depending on the type of file. For instance, merely opening a document file might not trigger malware execution. However, opening an executable file is likely to immediately inject malware.

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

While emails themselves pose no harm, clicking on malicious links or opening malicious attachments can lead to computer infections.

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

Combo Cleaner can identify and eradicate most of the known malware. However, advanced malware often conceals itself deeply within the system, so it is crucial 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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