The joys of some PayPal users seemed disappointingly short lived, when it became clear that the e-mail from PayPal stating they've won 500 euros was sent by mistake. The Next Web reported some users received the said e-mail from PayPal, asking them to log into their account to get the money. However, there was no money.
Curious users reportedly took to Twitter, wherein they wrote (in German) about the e-mail they had received. “Congratulations, you are one of the lucky winners! Look at the same time in your PayPal account after, because there we have you credited the 500 euros. You can redeem your earnings immediately. By the way, we still have many more great ideas to make your summer even better,” the e-mail said.
No lottery here!
The error was finally confirmed on PayPal Germany's Facebook page. The (translated) post there reads, “On the 07.06.2013 some PayPal customers were informed that in a competition (“Mydhili? «««Kriegste!») for transactions in the period May 27 31.05.2013 won have. Unfortunately, this e-mail due to a technical error has been shipped. We would like to apologize for this. The lottery has not yet occurred. We identify just the transactions of our clients who are eligible for membership. Then it will be our raffle among the eligible customers and the winners will be notified accordingly in a separate E-Mail.” (Bing Translation).
While on the face of it, the instance did seem very typical of a phishing attempt, Google+ user and software designer Tim Weber confirmed that it was not. Weber reportedly received the e-mail too, and promptly saw that while the e-mail came with SPF fails – an attempt to prevent spam and spoofing, the links “seem to point to legitimate addresses and the email appeared to contain no phishing links”.