After a pleasant outing to the twice-a-year Carlsbad Street Fair, Patricia and I came home not expecting anything special. However, when I checked my email, there was a significant letter in the inbox. It announced that my PayPal account has been limited! This slick letter even has a sidebar telling me how to protect my account and assuring me that PayPal will never ask me for a password via email.

However, they did ask me to “Click here to update your account”. When I hovered over the tab, a URL came up that was different from PayPal. It was to “cashdigger.com.” That caught my attention. So I goggled on that and found a blocked website. After nosing around a bit more, I found some hits that were to a Chinese service. At this point I stopped looking.

To see what is going on, I went to PayPal’s site and navigated to their security center to report this letter and see what they say. PayPal wanted me to forward the suspect letter to them, but that would have involved enabling the download of the images associated with it. I was reluctant to send back a request for images and thereby validate my address. After thinking about it for a moment, I selected the whole letter (Ctrl A) and copied it (Ctrl C), and pasted it into a new letter which I then sent to [email protected] with an appropriate subject heading. All this happened a few minutes ago so I do not have an answer yet as to what this probable attack is about, but I assure you I found nothing on the official PayPal site that had anything to do with my information being our of date and needing confirmation.

I do not know PayPal’s policy on returning information about security reports, so we might never know the result. However, I am willing to bet that I will not receive a reminder from them to update my account!

BTW, the English in the letter was impeccable. Often with crude phishing attempts, the text was obviously written by a non-native speaker. This was particularly true of the varieties of scare-ware that were prevalent earlier in 2010.

If this has happened to you or if you know anything more about it, please let me know.

The street fair was fun.