PayPal scam rises again

Friday, 23 May 2003, 9:04 AM EST

PayPal users are once again the targets of a hit-and-run e-mail scam aimed at conning them out of their personal and financial information.

On Thursday, netizens began receiving a convincing forgery of a PayPal e-mail, with the subject line "PayPal Verification" and the false return address verification@paypal.com.

The text of the message claims that PayPal -- owned by online auctioneer eBay -- has launched an anti-fraud initiative that requires the recipient to verify their account information on a particular website, "as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account."

Clicking on the supplied link -- masked as a PayPal URL -- takes the user to paypal.un-fraud.com. The website, hosted by Verio, consists entirely of a professional-looking "Personal Account Identity Verification" page that asks the user for their name, address, birth date, credit card numbers, social-security number, mother's maiden name, checking account numbers and ATM codes.

"There's no form like that on PayPal that I could find, but it uses their graphics and everything," says Ralph Logan, a Houston-based computer security consultant, and PayPal user, who spied the scam mail Thursday and reported it to eBay. "Basically what this guy is doing is redirecting people through spam to his website."

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