AOL Email Scam

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

"AOL Email Scam" removal guide

What is "AOL Email Scam"?

"AOL Email Scam" is another spam email campaign used by cyber criminals. Unlike most of these campaigns, which attempt to trick users into downloading/installing malware or sending money to cyber criminals, "AOL Email Scam" attempts to trick them into entering AOL email account credentials. This method is called phishing. Criminals send thousands of deceptive email messages stating that users' accounts are about to be "shutdown" and encourage them to cancel the process. This is all simply a scam.

AOL Email Scam spam campaign

"AOL Email Scam" emails state that AOL Mail administrators have recently received an account-deletion request from the user. It is also stated that if this is a mistake and the account is not required to be deleted, the user must cancel the entire process by clicking the link provided. Be aware, however, that the link address leads to a fake AOL Mail website containing a login screen. When users enter their login/password information, the details are immediately saved to a remote server and cyber criminals gain access to their accounts. Be aware that AOL Mail is a legitimate service/company and has nothing to do with this spam campaign. Cyber criminals simply claim to be employees of this company and send thousands of deceptive emails hoping that some people will fall for the scam and enter their account credentials. Hijacked accounts can be misused in various ways: criminals might attempt to borrow money from victims' contacts, hijack other accounts via the "restore password" function, send deceptive messages to other people, and so on. Therefore, being hijacked in this way can lead to privacy issues, financial loss, and even identity theft. For these reasons, you should ignore all "AOL Email Scam" emails.

Threat Summary:
Name AOL Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of one's computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.

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There are hundreds of spam campaigns online. For example, Yоu May Not Know Mе Email Scam, Wе Arе Nоt Going To Steal A Lot Of Time Email Scam, Y.E DESIGN Email Virus, and Christmas Greetings Email Virus. Some are used to extort money from gullible users by threatening them. In most cases, cyber criminals use the so-called "sextortion" method. They claim that they have hijacked the computer webcam and microphone, and recorded the victim "masturbating". They state that they will share the video with all of the victim's contacts unless a ransom (which typically fluctuates between $500 and $1000, in Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency) is paid. Unfortunately, many users are tricked into paying even though no such videos actually exist. Other spam campaigns proliferate high-risk viruses, such as Emotet, Adwind, Hancitor, FormBook, etc. These contain malicious attachments designed to infect computers. Infiltrated viruses typically record personal data (saved logins/passwords, browsing history, keystrokes, etc.) and open "backdoors". Viruses of this type pose a significant threat to your privacy and computer safety.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

As mentioned, spam campaigns that distribute viruses contain malicious attachments (e.g., PDF files, Microsoft Office documents, executables, archives, etc.), however, the attachment must be downloaded and opened before it can do any harm. Therefore, the user's manual intervention is required. If the attachment is an MS Office document, it usually asks to enable macro commands that download and install malware. Executables must be opened manually. Note that lack of knowledge of these threats and careless behavior are the main reasons for these infections.

How to avoid installation of malware?

The key to computer safety is caution. To prevent these infections, be very cautious when browsing the internet. Think twice before opening any email attachment. Files/links that are irrelevant and those received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should never be opened. If you receive such messages, delete them immediately. Furthermore, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running. These tools can detect and eliminate malware before it performs any malicious actions and the presence of this software is essential when trying to protect the system from viruses. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "AOL Email Scam" email message:

AOL Message

Dear User,
Our record indicates that you recently made a request to shutdown your email. And this request will be processed shortly.
If this request was made accidentally and you have no knowledge of it, you are advised to cancel the request now

Cancel De-activation

However, if you do not cancel this request,your account will be shutdown shortly
and all your email data will be lost permanently.
Email Administrator

This message is aut-generated from E-mail security server, and replies sent to this email can not be delivered.
This email meant for: only user

Screenshot of the fake AOL website:

Fake AOL Mail website used for phishing

Instant automatic removal of possible malware infections: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of possible malware infections. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task - usually it is best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Spyhunter for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

If you checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example, using task manager, and identified a program that looks suspicious, you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1 Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart your computer into Safe Mode:

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":


manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.

extract and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck the "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.

You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you wish to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete".

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not run automatically on the next system startup), you should search for the malware name on your computer. Be sure to enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the filename of the malware, be sure to remove it.

searching for malware file on your computer

Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills. If you do not have these skills, leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is best to prevent infection than try to remove malware later. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.

To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Spyhunter for Windows.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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