How to Detect a Scam Email

I always wondered if I would be able to detect a scam email. Some of them are quite scary because they look legitimate! Well, today I received one from “PayPal” and here are the clues that let me know it was fake.

Wrong Email Address

I have two email addresses: the one I made when I was 12, and my professional one. For services that I don’t like to attach my professional self to, I use the email address from when I was 12. However, for professional services, such as PayPal, I use my formal email address.

This scam was sent to my NON-PRIMARY account. This was the biggest clue. I don’t receive emails from PayPal on that account. I can completely understand if some people might get mixed up on what email address they are currently using, but make sure that the email received is on the same account you signed up for.

Long Sender List

The mail app on my iPhone always shows the sender information vertically instead of horizontally, like the gmail app does. I had to scroll through a long list of email addresses that this “legitimate” email was sent to. Legitimate PayPal emails are always sent to one person. If any email has a long list of people it was sent to, unless it’s a mass email from a trusted source, it’s probably spam.


This is probably my favorite clue. The scam has quite a few typos in the body of the text. Easy to miss while skimming, but I’m not someone who likes to skim. Just read the first paragraph to see what I’m talking about!

“We regularly check the activity of your paypal account. Recently, we found that some of the activities you are violating your agreement with us we have limited your account and can not offer the service for you.”

I have no idea what that second sentence is saying, and neither should you. Please be careful with scam emails! They are looking more and more legitimate, and I hope there isn’t someone out there losing their login information to gmail or PayPal because of a scam.

Final tip: If you are unsure whether or not the email is legitimate, log in through the service you are questioning. I logged into my PayPal account through PayPal after receiving this email, and I saw NO indication that I was violating any agreement. Please be safe and be careful!


Author: Becky Rebecca

I am a recent graduate from Utah State University. I currently work at a digital marketing agency as a content writer. I never would have guessed I would write for a living, but here I am!

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