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The email was sent to an address that I have not registered with PayPal. In addition to this, the left-hand side contained three strong indicators of a phishing attack:
- Hot links to a web site that was not PayPal. (I have removed these links.)
- Spelling mistakes
- Aggressive threats (respond within 24 hours or else ...)
Why would a phisher include such anti-phishing advice - except as a clever trick to persuade the reader that the email was not a phishing attack? Or perhaps when people are overloaded with contradictory information, they do irrational things. I'd love to know how many people actually fall for this trick.
The broader implications for trust are fascinating and important. People have always tried to play games to win trust - and have often succeeded. And there is an interesting relationship between trust and consistency.