Updated question because old one was embarassing: I saw a spam email from "PayPal" and I didn't realize that it was a phishing attempt. I gave the phishing site my name, telephone number, and email. What could he do with them?

Old question: Well, I saw a spam email, but I didn't realize that it's really a scam at first. I gave him my telephone number, address, and name. What would he do with them? Could he ruin ALL of my reputation with it?

  • Luckily, I didn't gave him my credit info. The scam was trough PayPal (he said that my PayPal account is suspended.. I reported him at PayPal, but I'm not sure will they do something? I mean the website of the email was completely empty)
    – MrColdfish
    Jul 2, 2016 at 14:48
  • 3
    The only risk I see is that you gave a fishy person the means to try personalized scam attempts on you. E.g. emails that appear to be from your work if that information is linkable, which will let you download malware instead. Or scam emails that are addressed to you personally instead of a general "hi".
    – Sumurai8
    Jul 2, 2016 at 16:34
  • I think I might use whois to give him the data on the admin for the domain he's using to send the e-mail. Especially if I can respond via a host that lets me forge the same domain on the from address.
    – WGroleau
    Jul 2, 2016 at 18:26
  • I did the same but I also clicked on a link of their website, which was totally fake. Does anyone know what can happen? i am really scared. I didn't give away passwords though.
    – brenda
    Jul 17, 2017 at 10:24

2 Answers 2


Your name, address, and telephone number are all more or less public information. Think about it: how many people do you give this information to every month? If this is the only information you gave out, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Of course, from now on, be more aware before you start handing out information. Just this week, I heard from a friend that his relative had fallen for the Grandparent scam and had lost several thousand dollars. A couple of months ago, a relative of mine had fallen for the Windows Tech Support scam, and it took me some time to clean up his computer. I get calls at my house every day from Windows Tech Support or from Rachel with Cardholder Services and I hang up without thinking about it, but people fall for this every day.

You need to treat every phone call and e-mail you get with suspicion.

  • 23
    Personally, I try and keep unwelcome callers (live ones, not robocallers) on the line as long as possible with minimum effort at my end ... "Oh you need to talk to X... I'll just go and get them, hang on a minute... <put phone aside; wait for it to start beeping 'cos the other end has hung up and it's off the hook>", stuff like that. I consider it an anonymous favour to anyone who the scammer didn't get around to calling that day as a result of any slight delay I can cause them.
    – timday
    Jul 2, 2016 at 15:13
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    @timday I appreciate your effort. :)
    – Ben Miller
    Jul 2, 2016 at 15:15
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    I have an all in one printer, which has fax functionality. When I am at my desk and I see a caller that I don't recognize, I press the fax answer button. I've heard the autodialers will stop calling fax machines when they get that tone. Jul 2, 2016 at 16:18
  • 1
    @joetaxpayer: Used to be that you'd just be setting yourself up for faxed scam/spam by doing that. May be different in today's climate.
    – keshlam
    Jul 2, 2016 at 17:18
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    Best way to deal with a 'Windows Tech Support' guy: tell them you're running Linux.
    – Pharap
    Jul 2, 2016 at 21:59

The worst thing that can happen is that you've just made your e-mail and phone number useless, and you must get new. That can happen, if you have the bad luck to have an e-mail provider that has poor spam filters, and a country that is not interested in protecting your privacy from criminals.

For example, Gmail excludes spam quite well, and Germany has good laws that punish phone spammers, so they won't risk calling you without reason. But in Poland, there's no effective protection from phone criminals, so once your number gets sold, you'll receive so many junk calls, you'll want to throw your phone away.

No, they can't ruin your reputation with that information. But they can ruin your nerves with unsolicited mails and calls.

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