If you’ve received an email from PayPal, threatening to delete your account if you continue your crypto trading-related transactions, have no fear: the email is a phony. Combined with a bleak-looking Bitcoin market, perhaps these emails are a result of market manipulation. Either way, PayPal hasn’t said anything about it.
Phony cease and desist emails
An email containing language insisting that PayPal users “cease any activity” resulting in the trading or transference of cryptos has been confirmed as false. The email seemingly originated from “mkts2944.com”, and while PayPal is not beloved among the crypto community, for its reliance on centralization, PayPal would not be likely to have sent such a warning at all.
PayPal recently announced the impending launch of its own cryptocurrency. Clearly, the transactions giant is not against the idea of trading and transferring crypto coins, and presumably they bank on users employing their service for these types of transactions in the future.
More important than PayPal’s stance on crypto, though, is PayPal’s lack of response to this email hack. The sheer amount of PayPal users contacted suggests that the email list came from PayPal, but nothing has been announced regarding a data compromise. No information has been released about how the email sender obtained access to the customer emails or the PayPal email platform.
It would be feasible to access other hacked databases and cross-reference them, however, the scale of this PayPal scheme suggests that this method was not implemented. In case you are ever curious, haveIbeenpwned.com is a popular website which searches for user emails on hacked lists.
The plot thickens
There is more mystery to be had: a who-is search brings back some surprising information about the emails. Apparently, IBM owns the “mkts2944.com” domain. At first, that seems to either make no sense or to smack of conspiracy theory fiction. Redditors have theorized that a paid email campaign through Watson Marketing Campaign Automation might be responsible for the emails. This would suggest an influencer who is investing a lot of money in destabilizing trust in the crypto market, which seems far-fetched.
IBM would not be likely to have set up automated email campaigns to influence crypto markets. While there is no direct evidence to corroborate this theory, the domain was likely spoofed in the first place. This domain has been associated with other PayPal scams, as well.
While it seems unlikely that IBM is actively trolling crypto traders, someone is. Bitcoin continues to fall, and people are wondering what exactly gives. This is the worst fall aside from April 2013 and the 2013/14 plunges, with variances from $259 to $43 and $1163 to $152 respectively.