Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

PayPal Account Has Been Limited

It’s called “phishing”. And what that translates to is: casting a net (or “a baited hook”) out to catch suckers, rubes, and victimize them.

In this example, Hotmail did a good job, and caught this particular “bait” email, and moved it to the Junk folder for me, but I cannot rely on that happening – I have to learn to spot a “phish”.

This one has several clues: one, it’s scary/alarming. Emails saying there is something wrong with your banking, or email, or such, and you NEED TO ACT NOW BY CLICKING THIS LINK are 99.9999% fake, frauds, cons, criminal attacks on you.

Another clue is the  “!”s. Just about any email that has !!! in the subject line is garbage at best. (Usually, it is a scam, like this one.)

Now.. it so happens that I do have a PayPal account. And it also so happens that I do not want it to be “limited” in any way.. but I know better than to even open this email.
If I was really worried that there might be some truth in it, or just might be valid, what I would do would be to open a new browser tab, and go directly to PayPal, login, and check my status there. Or call them on the phone.

I know.. I know.. this is old stuff. Why am I talking about it in 2012? Trust me, there are plenty of people who opened this, even though most webmail mark it as Junk — the fear and curiosity it evokes is too much for them to resist..

Let’s be safe online people – exercise some good healthy “paranoid common sense”. Just viewing an email such as this can have bad consequences.. so I remind you of the old, old watchwords – if you do not know and recognize the Sender > Don’t open it.

Too funny: This just came in..

Today’s quote:Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” ~ William Shakespeare

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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February 11, 2012 - Posted by | advice, e-mail, Phishing, security | , , , ,


  1. Maybe old, but it’s relevant. Thumbs up!

    If you use Gmail, they have something called ..Authentication icon for verified senders. It’s in the Labs section under settings. What it does….”Displays a key icon next to authenticated messages from certain senders that spammers attempt to fake. Currently works for mail from PayPal and eBay only.”

    But I use it as a guide. If I were to get an email that I was not expecting, I would either call or check the site myself. I would never open that email.


    Comment by delenn13 | February 11, 2012 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      While strides are being made in automating the technology/methods to prevent such things from even reaching us (or.. reaching us but having warning labels attached), it boils down to us — the “end users” — actually paying attention to what we’re doing.

      Because as soon as an “anti-method” is developed, the bad guys corrupt/exploit the measure, or switch to new methods, (Filter by keywords, they’ll use “image spam” methods, for example.)

      I appreciate your words of support.


      Comment by techpaul | February 11, 2012 | Reply

  2. Paul, Thanks for the Alert on Pay Pal! I was reluctant to sign up with Pay Pal “all this time” until just recently I signed up with them. With caution always in mind; I’ve not been too generous to use my Credit Card either…Huh! Here I am…a member of Pay Pal! I certainly will watch my emails/acct. As a new customer they send out emails often, I do not open them…I use their web address.


    Comment by Gaia | February 11, 2012 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      I think it’s wise to be cautious.

      Anyone can send an email.

      And they can “spoof” the Sender part to look like someone else.

      And they can paste in authentic Logos.
      (Some of the “forgeries” are quite good.)


      Comment by techpaul | February 11, 2012 | Reply

    • Gaia, I use Private Browsing in Firefox so my cookies, passwords, and CC numbers are not stored when i visit my banking, paypal or just shopping sites. Then I either use a Virtual Private Network(VPN) like Hotspot Shield – or a proxy server like Hide My A$$! (If you feel the need to censor that, Paul, go ahead.) It’s used IN your browser.

      The free should be good enough for what you need. Now sometimes when you use this, it will be slow. That is normal. Hotspot Shield free is ad supported.

      Also, IIRC, there are offers of toolbars and home page changing, so READ and BE CAREFUL while you are installing Hotspot Shield..


      Comment by delenn13 | February 11, 2012 | Reply

      • delenn13,
        I (personally) find a reference to one of nature’s more intelligent creatures not the least bit worthy of censoring..


        Comment by techpaul | February 12, 2012 | Reply

        • Paul – One of Nature’s More Intelligent Creatures… I agree with your comment,


          Comment by Gaia | February 12, 2012 | Reply

      • Delenn13 – Thanks for this info.
        I will take a look at it.


        Comment by Gaia | February 12, 2012 | Reply

  3. Howdy Paul

    I never go to any online financial institution in a new tab, and I was surprised to see you say that you do (no offense). I always start a unique session, go to the financial sites, then close the browser. I also use Sandboxie (and don’t allow ANY direct access) with Firefox and your suggested add-ons. And I do that in Private Browsing mode. I still run CCleaner after all web sessions before going to any other websites.

    I don’t trust any browser or its features to keep something from being stored on my computer, nor to keep prying eyes from capturing my data while I’m online. I know I’m not bullet-proof, and it makes me kind of mad that I have to do that crap every darned time I go to check my online financial information.

    I certainly don’t want our government regulating the internet in a way that causes censorship or invasion of privacy. Still, I think something has to be done to curb this insane flow of cybercrime. I don’t have the answer, but I am irritated to the point of going off the grid entirely.


    Comment by KsTinMan | February 12, 2012 | Reply

    • kstinman,
      Well sir, you “caught me out” there a little bit. And what I actually do is much more like what you do.

      But the title of this series is “for everyone”, meaning a lot of what I say here, the “average computer user” is kept in mind.

      4 years ago, when I was first writing this, my observations had led me to conclude that the “average computer user” will not do anything that requires much learning, or more than 3 clicks to implement. Call me jaded if you will, but nowadays, I think it’s more like 1 click.

      • Close the browser
      • Run Ccleaner (what percentage have that onboard?)(Okay.. so Download/Install/Learn it)
      • Open new browser (+do banking)
      • Repeat

      Not going to happen.. even if such an “authority” as Tech Paul (ha!) says to do it that way.

      As for stopping cybercrime once and for all, well! I have had some great conversations with some very bright and knowledgeable people (it’s one of my fave Geek Topics) on what it would take to accomplish that.
      My own conclusion (for what it’s worth) is that it would take two things (at least)
      1) A dedicated, concerted, International police effort (aka, all nations would have to agree, and participate)
      2) Scrap the “infrastructure” and start over. Rebuild the Internet from the ground up – this time with Security/Confidentiality the primary concerning factor. (Which would render every device we now use into scrap — switches, routers, PC’s, every line of code, etc.)(Imagine the price tag of that!)

      So… I am not holding my breath.


      Comment by techpaul | February 12, 2012 | Reply

      • I couldn’t agree more with everything you said my friend. Sad but true…


        Comment by KsTinMan | February 12, 2012 | Reply

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