Scam Alert: Creepy Email Con Claims to Be Watching You Online

Before you open an email there are a few things you need to look for.
March 31, 2017

This Email Scam Has Your Name, Address… and a Virus Attached

A new email con tries to trick recipients into downloading a malware-infected attachment. Sounds standard, right? It is, except this con has their targets’ names and addresses, and claims to be monitoring their behavior online.

How the Scam Works

You receive an email informing you that you’ve been caught performing fraudulent activities online. One version claims you’ve been using PayPal to illegally transfer funds. The accusation is false, of course, but the email has your real name and address (although targets report that the address is frequently out of date).

The email’s author warns that someone has been monitoring your online activities and collecting evidence to take to the police. Luckily, the scammer has attached the incriminating evidence to the email, so you can see it and respond. How kind!

No matter how curious you are, don’t download the file! The attachment adds malware to your device, which scammers then use to capture passwords or hunt for sensitive information. 

How to Spot an Email Scam:

  • Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. Do not click on links or open files in unfamiliar emails.
  • Check the reply email address. One easy way to spot an email scam is to look at the reply email. The address should be on a company domain, such a
  •  Don't believe what you see. Just because an email looks real, doesn't mean it is. Scammers can fake anything from a company logo to the "Sent" email address. 
  • Consider how the organization normally contacts you. If an organization normally reaches you by mail, be suspicious if you suddenly start receiving emails or text messages without ever opting into the new communications.  
  • Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Be especially wary of messages you have not subscribed to or companies you have never done business with in the past.  


For more information:

For more information on avoiding scams, go to To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (

Learn more about scams using PayPal’s name, check out this FAQ.

NOTE: PayPal is a BBB Accredited Business.