How to Avoid Getting Scammed By Fake PayPal Email {Guest Post by Northshore Mama}

paypal good vs evil

PayPal is one of the most popular ways to buy and sell online across the country or even the globe. I’ve personally been using PayPal for over fifteen years and have never had any problems with it. It’s simple to use, but you do need to be aware of spam emails that have been making the rounds, claiming to be legitimate PayPal emails, when in reality, they are just trying to scam you out money.

All too often, you get an email that appears to be from PayPal telling you that your account has been compromised or needs updating. We all know that this is possible these days, so you click the link and all of a sudden, you’re broke!

Today, I’m going to share with you how to tell the real emails from the fake ones. If you know what to look for, you can avoid being a victim.

How to tell if a PayPal email is legit or fake

PayPal will always use your registered name and not “Dear PayPal User”

Many people are not aware of this, but PayPal will always use your registered name in an email. This first picture is a legit email from PayPal. They address me by name, and I can see my email address that is connected to my account.


In the email below, notice that NONE of my personal information is listed, and the email address that it is coming from doesn’t even have PayPal in there!

bad paypal email heading

If it doesn’t sound professional, then it probably isn’t! Typos are a HUGE red flag!

In the body of the email above, notice that it doesn’t sound like an official letter from anyone. PayPal is one of the biggest web-based companies around! Their form letters/emails have been proofread and have perfect grammar and very cold, official wording. Not warm and fuzzy like “a little while ago” and “you didn’t authorize some money transfers…”

PayPal will never ask you to update your account by email.

PayPal will never ask you for the following personal information via email. They will ALWAYS prompt you to login to your account to verify and/or update.

  • Personal identification numbers or bank account numbers
  • Your full name
  • Your password
  • Driver’s license number
  • Social Security number
  • Credit and debit card numbers

Also, PayPal will never email an attachment or software update to install on your computer. Any email with such an attachment should not be opened because it could be spyware or a virus.

If you receive a discount or offer, you should also see it in your account. (Yes, these do exist.)

Paypal offers in wallet

If you notice in my real PayPal email above, I was promised a $10 off $30 discount if I shop at Bath and Body Works and checkout through PayPal. When I log in to my account and select the “wallet” menu, I can see the offers in my wallet. If you received an offer, but it isn’t in your account, then it probably isn’t a true offer from PayPal.

I hope that these simple tips will help you to avoid being a victim of the fraud that is rampant in our society these days. If in doubt, you can always contact PayPal themselves to verify if something is legit.

Do you have any additional tips to share on how to avoid getting scammed through email?

About Northshore Mama

Kari Head ShotKari, born and raised on the Northshore, began Northshore Mama after her family experienced a couple of rough financial years.  Kari shares the tips and tricks to maneuvering each store’s different marketing of their sales, as well as introducing her readers to various programs and websites where she earns free stuff every day.  Northshore Mama’s mission is to bring you the coupon deals and show you how to match them up with each store’s weekly sales to get the most bang for your buck!


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