How to tell if an email is from PayPal

PayPal Employee
PayPal Employee

Welcome to the PayPal Community Help Forums!


Phishing emails are fake emails that pretend to be from PayPal (but aren't from PayPal) and often send you to fake websites.  These emails try to get you to reveal sensitive personal information, such as your Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers, PIN numbers, or account passwords. 


At PayPal, we won't send you an email asking you to give us any of the following:


  • your full bank or credit card number
  • your debit card PIN number
  • your entire driver's license numbers
  • a listing of your email addresses
  • a listing of your physical (street) addresses
  • your full name
  • your password (to PayPal or any other account)
  • the answers to your security questions

We also won't ask you to view an attachment or install a software update.  Only a few of our emails to you - such as for password recovery or to confirm an email address - will ask that you click on hyperlink to complete an action.  If you didn't request a password reset or add an email address, scrutinize the email further before proceeding.


In fact, most phishing emails will present you with a situation that tries to provoke you into immediate action - and usually recommends that you click on a link in the same email to dispute a transaction or provide the requested information as soon as possible. 


Our emails to you will always address you by the first and last name or the business name you registered with on PayPal.  Unsure of what this is?  Go to and log in.  You'll be greeted by your first and last name.  Emails that address you by "Dear PayPal Member" or other, similar greetings are a sure give away that they aren't real.


If you've received an email that you're suspicious of, stop!  Don't open it or click on any links.  Open a separate browser window and go to directly to and check on your account.  If there is an issue or a payment has  been made, it will be visible there. 


If you receive a phishing or spoof email pretending to be from PayPal, or you're unsure if it is from PayPal, please forward the email, including the header, to  Then delete the email from your inbox.


I know we all try to be vigilant in the digital era, but if you've responded to a spoof email with any sensitive personal information, or entered that information on a site that pretends to be PayPal but isn't, take action to secure those pieces of information as soon as possible.  If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft or other personal information has been compromised, start by learning more here.

And last, but definitely not least, check out Your Guide to Phishing (another resource that explains what phishing is, how to recognize it, and how to fight it)


Stay safe,




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