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Do not trust the Mail Quota phishing email

Also Known As: Mail Quota spam
Damage level: Medium

What is "Mail Quota Email Scam"?

In most cases cyber, criminals behind phishing emails such as this attempt to obtain sensitive information including login credentials (passwords, emails, etc.), credit card details and other details, which could be misused for malicious purposes.

In this particular case, scammers attempt to deceive recipients into entering their Microsoft Outlook credentials (email addresses and passwords).

Mail Quota Email Scam email spam campaign

Scammers behind this email claim that the recipient's mailbox size has reached 1990.08 MB, which is 99% of the imposed 2058.00 MB quota. To prevent the mailbox from exceeding its default email account space limitation, recipients must supposedly update their email quotas by logging in through the provided website link.

The link in this email opens a fake Microsoft Outlook login website (larkspurandtea[.]com). The scammers behind this email and website attempt to trick recipients into providing their MS Outlook login credentials, which are used to steal Outlook and possibly the entire Microsoft account, or other accounts with identical login credentials.

By entering the aforementioned credentials, recipients would provide cyber criminals with access to Outlook and also to other Microsoft products and services such as Office, Skype, OneDrive, etc. This enables scammers to access hosted files, photos, contacts, and other personal files/data.

Depending on the data accessed, cyber criminals can use it to make fraudulent purchases, spread phishing emails such as this one, malspam campaigns, steal identities, and so on. They can also sell stolen accounts and accessed data/information to third parties (other cyber criminals).

Therefore, you are strongly advised to ignore this email and never enter credentials on any unofficial, deceptive websites.

Threat Summary:
Name Mail Quota Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scammers behind this email claim that recipients email inbox is almost full.
Disguise This phishing email is disguised as a message from the recipient's email service provider (Outlook).
Related Domain larkspurandtea[.]com
Detection Names CyRadar (Malicious), Emsisoft (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), Kaspersky (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the 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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Some examples of similar email scams are "Propuesta Comercial Email Scam", "Your Device Was Not Properly Secured Email Scam" and "2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO Email Scam". In most cases, scammers behind them attempt to trick recipients into providing sensitive information or transferring certain sums of money.

Furthermore, emails can be used for other malicious purposes such as distribution of malware. In such cases, emails contain a malicious attachment or website link. Typically, malspam campaigns are used to trick recipients into installing Trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners or other malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Generally, cyber criminals behind malspam campaigns send emails with a malicious file (attachment) or a website link to a download page of a malicious file. In any case, their main purpose is to deceive recipients into executing the file, which then installs malicious software.

Some examples of files that cyber criminals attach to their emails are Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archive files (ZIP, RAR), executable files (.exe), JavaScript files.

When users open malicious documents with MS Office 2010 versions or newer, they are asked to enable editing/content (macros commands). I.e., malicious documents cannot install malware without receiving such permission. Older versions install malicious software automatically, since they do not include "Protected View" mode.

How to avoid installation of malware

Software should NOT be downloaded or installed via third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule) or similar channels/tools. All software and files should be downloaded from official pages and via direct links.

Irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses and contain attachments (or web links) should not be trusted. Furthermore, installed programs must be updated and/or activated through tools or functions that are designed by official developers.

No other third party tools can be trusted or should be used, since they often infect computers with malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to bypass activation of licensed software with unofficial activation ('cracking') tools. Finally, any computer is safer when it is regularly scanned with reputable, up-to-date antivirus or anti-spyware software.

Text presented in the "Mail Quota Email Scam" email message:

Subject: PENDING UNREAD MESSAGES

Mail Quota: (99% Full)


Attention: -

Your mailbox size has reached 1990.08MB, which is over 90% of your 2058.00MB quota.Please login through webapp to delete some messages to avoid exceeding your quota


NOTE: FAILURE TO UPDATE EMAIL QUOTA YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEND / RECEIVE EMAILS

Update Email Quota

Source:  Mail Admin For  -

Screenshot of a fake Outlook login website:

mail quota fake outlook page

Another variant of Mail Quota scam email:

Mail Quota Email Scam (2020-08-12)

Text presented within:

Subject: - quota full: (98% full)

Message from -.
 
Your mail box is almost full, this can stop keep incoming emails from arriving.
Use the link below to get more free space.

Click Here - - & Upgrade

Regards,
- notification
 
This message is auto-generated from -. security server, and replies sent to this email can not be delivered.
This email is meant for: -.

Another example of Mail Quota-themed spam email used to promote a phishing website:

Mail Quota-themed spam email used to promote phishing website (2020-08-19)

Text presented within:

Subject: -  Storage Alert for - Account User -


-  Storage Alert
for - Account User:  -
Dear ( - )

Your email account ( - ) has reached its quota limit,

To avoid email loss,  click here to increase your storage

After verification, extra security features will be activated on  -server Panel and your account will be safe for use.


Source: - Team 2020

Screenshot of the promoted phishing website:

Phishing website promoted via Mail Quota-themed spam email

A Portuguese variant of Mail Quota-themed spam email:

Portuguese mail quota-themed spam email

Text presented within:

Subject: ATENÇÃO: Sua caixa de entrada está quase cheia - #IIONWXOQZ

WEBMAIL

Sua caixa de entrada está quase cheia.

18251 MB         20480 MB
Current size         Maximum size

Cota de armazenamento baixa, você foi suspenso de receber documentos maiores que 25 KB

Você pode atualizar para um plano adicional de 5650 MB gratuitamente agora.

Clique aqui para aumentar o seu espaço de email

ID de mensagem: ZJ23 # 3UF5UFFVK2TYMYJFF0NZ

Com os melhores cumprimentos

Web Administrator

This email was sent to
Organization:  Safety Corporation., All rights reserved. @2020

Yet another variant of Mail Quota-themed spam email:

Mail Quota-themed spam email (2020-10-05 - sample 1)

Text presented within:

Subject: Incoming Messages Restricted!!!


Incoming Messages Restricted

Dear *******
New update which brings a major security feature to emails, We are upgrading our Email server and this might affect some email accounts, You are advised to verify and re-confirm your email account in other to continue using our email services and  to get a vital upgrade that should help keep your Outlook inbox far safer and free from annoying and malicious spam.

You have some new messages in your email quarantine.
User Account:  *******  

Click Here to Update and Deliver Message(s) to your inbox folder:
 

Quarantined email
     Recipient:    Subject:    date:
Release    *******    Incoming Transfer from Sale@.... [HSBC]    1/7/2020
Release    *******    Re: Re: Contract | INVOICE COPY |  *******    10/7/2020
Release    *******    Re: SALES ORDER CONFIRMATION SO: 0047529    15/7/2020
Release    *******    Shipment 873017357362 Notification    17/7/2020
Deliver all messages (10)

Note: This message was sent by the system for notification only. Please do not reply

If this message lands in your spam folder, please move it to your inbox folder for proper interagtion:  Click Here

Note: Failure to verify your e-mail account,will result to suspension of incoming emails and data lost.
Thank you for using our service.

rcs.lt Administrator Security Team.

Yet another variant of Mail Quota-themed spam email:

Mail Quota-themed spam email (2020-10-05 - sample 2)

Text presented within:

Subject: [ ***** ] WARNING: “*************” email account is almost full.

 

Mailbox quota notification for "*************".
     
The "*************" email account is almost full.

The email account currently uses 85.72% (877.77 MB/1 GB) of its capacity.

In order to prevent the loss of any future email and get more space. Use the Email Disk Usage tool at hxxps://*****/?goto_app=*************_DiskUsage, or ask the system administrator to upgrade your account to a larger quota.

The system generated this notice on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 4:02:36 AM UTC.
You can disable the "Quota::MailboxWarning" type of notification through the cPanel interface: hxxps://*****:2083/?goto_app=ContactInfo_Change

Do not reply to this automated message.

 sea
cP
Copyright© 2020 cPanel, L.L.C.

 Example of yet another similar phishing mail:

Mail-quota themed phishing email (2020-11-06)

Text presented within:

Subject: *****: E-Mail Administrator

Your mailbox is almost full.

  1. ********,
  2.       4096MB
    Current size         Maximum size
    You are running out of space and soon you will not be able to receive messages.

Click Here: ******** to increase size automatically.


Thanks,

***** Mail System Administrator

Screenshot of a fake Webmail login site promoted via this email:

Fake Webmail login site promoted via Mail Quota-themed spam email

Yet another mail-quota-themed spam email used to promote a phishing website:

Mail-quota-themed spam email promoting a phishing website (2020-11-17)

Text presented within:

Subject: EMAIL NOTIFICATION

Dear User
You have (3) three pending delivery on your email portal.
The messages can viewed by the subject of each message to -
User ID: -


Subject    Receipent    Date
Pending     RE: Bank Account on Invoices     To: -     16-10-2020
Pending     RE:RE: Enquiry     To: -     16-10-2020
Pending     RE:RE:RE:RE Outstanding payments     To: -     16-10-2020

REDEEM MESSAGES

Sincerely
Netease Admin (c) 2020 Secured Services

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site (abs-nks[.]com):

Phishing website (abb-nks.com) promoted via mail-quota-themed spam email

Yet another similar spam email used to promote a phishing website:

Mail quota-themed spam email promoting a phishing website

Text presented within:

Subject: Syncing Error - (6) Incoming failed mails.

 

Email Security Alert for ********

Dear ********

Our server detects that your email storage has exceeded its limit and needs to be upgraded immediately

Click here now to upgrade your email storage

If you fail to comply, we will lock your account and all email data will be permanenly lost.

Source: Email Administrator

Screenshot of the promoted phishing website:

Phishing website promoted via mail quota-themed spam emails

Yet another mail quota-themed spam email used to promote a phishing website:

Mail quota-themed spam email used to promote a phishing website (2020-12-08)

Text presented within:

Subject: Mailbox Quota Notification For ********

 

Message To  ******** .
 
Your mailbox is almost full, this can stop incoming emails from arriving.

Use the link below to get more free space.

Click Here - ******** /Update

Regards,
********  Notification.
 
This message is auto-generated from noreply@serversettings.com security server, and replies sent to this email can not be delivered.
This email is meant for: ********.

Screenshot of the promoted phishing website:

Phishing website used to promoted via mail quota-themed spam emails (2020-12-08)

Yet another example of mail quota-themed spam email:

Mail quota-themed spam email (2021-02-18)

Text presented within:

Subject: Upgrade Your Email (********) Quota!


Dear ********,

We notice that your quota has exceeded its limit.

Click below to upgrade storage to 50GB for free.

Upgrade Email Quota To 50GB

Source: ********  ©2021

Yet another example of mail quota-themed spam email:

Mail Quota-themed spam email (2021-04-20)

Text presented within:

Subject: SECURITY ALERT

SECURITY ALERT

Your mailbox size has reached 493.36MB, which is over 80% of your 500.00MB quota.

Please CONFIRM-NOW    to upgrade and verify your account and avoid exceeding your quota.

Mail Quota ©2021

Screenshot of the phishing website (jassersa[.]com) promoted via this spam email:

Phishing website promoted via mail quota-themed spam email

Yet another example of mail quota-themed spam email:

Mail Quota-themed spam email (2021-04-20)

Text presented within:

Subject: Important Notice Do not ignore!!!


Your mailbox quota is almost full!!!
Dear ********,
4086MB 4096MB
Current size Maximum size
Please upgrade your mail version so that all pending/blocked mails can be delivered to you.
Also, delete any item you don't need from your mailbox and empty your "Deleted Items folder".
Click here  to upgrade your mailbox version and increase its size automatically.
 
Thanks,
********
This notification was sent to you only; Don't want occasional updates about subscription preferences and friendly suggestions? Unsubscribe  now.

Yet another example of mail quota-themed spam email used to promote a phishing website:

Mail Quota-themed spam email (2021-07-07)

Text presented within:

Subject: Your Mail Quota

 

Dear -,
1969MB 2000MB
Your Mail Quota is full. Kindly UPGRADE to receive your pending emails,
Click Here to Upgrade Mailbox Quota For Free.
 
NOTICE:
failure to Update your e-mail account. It will be permanently disabled.
 
Thanks,
Mail Administrator 2021 | All rights reserved.

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site:

Phishing website promoted via Mail Quota-themed spam email (2021-07-07)

Yet another example of email quota-themed spam:

Email quota-themed spam (2021-09-21)

Text presented within:

Subject: Last Notification For ******** Upgrade


電子郵件配額: (98% 充分)

Note: ********

Your email quota has reached 98% and is about to exceed the limit.
Please follow the link below to upgrade your quota to 25GB for free to avoid losing email data.

Upgrade ********
Source: ******** Email Administrator

Another example of mail quota-themed spam promoting a phishing site:

Mail Quota-themed spam email used to promote a phishing site (2022-06-29)

Text presented within:

Subject: ******** Warning !!! Account reset upgrade


Dear ********,

You have 19% of storage space left in the mailbox quota.

In order to continue receiving new messages, it is recommended to increase the storage size of your ******** mailbox.

For your safety, click the button below to automatically increase the storage capacity.


Increase storage now →


Thanks,
******** mail service.

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site:

Phishing site promoted via Mail Quota-themed spam email (2022-06-29)

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

▼ Show Discussion

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 pcrisk.com 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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