Avoid the "Your Microsoft subscription has been expired" email scam
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is "Your Microsoft subscription has been expired" email scam?
Commonly, scammers behind phishing emails try to trick recipients into sharing personal information. Usually, their emails (or websites) demand usernames, passwords, bank account numbers, credit card details or other sensitive information.
In this particular case, scammers use an email that appears to be from Microsoft and attempts to trick users into entering their Microsoft account credentials onto a fake website.
This phishing email encourages recipients to renew their Microsoft subscription (account), which will supposedly expire on a specific date, via the provided website ("Renew subscriptions >" hyperlink).
The website appears similar to the official Microsoft account sign-in website and asks visitors to provide an email address, telephone number or Skype ID and password that they use to sign into their Microsoft accounts. In this way, the web page steals Microsoft account login credentials.
Scammers might misuse stolen accounts to access files, photos, and other personal data and files. Commonly, scammers behind these phishing emails/websites attempt to steal information, which is then misused to make fraudulent purchases and transactions, to steal identities, and for other malicious purposes.
They might also sell the account details to third parties (other cyber criminals). Entering login credentials on phishing websites also enables cyber criminals to use the same details to attempt to steal other accounts (people often use the same credentials for multiple accounts).
|Name||Your Microsoft subscription has been expired email scam.|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.|
|Fake Claim||Microsoft subscription has expired/will expire soon.|
|Detection Names||Avira (Phishing), Emsisoft (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), Kaspersky (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal).|
|Symptoms||Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.|
|Distribution methods||Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.|
|Damage||Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
"PASSWORD EXPIRATION NOTICE Email Scam", "Spotify Email Scam", and "POLÍCIA SEGURANÇA PÚBLICA Email Scam" are examples of other similar scams that cyber criminals use to trick recipients into providing sensitive information, which is then misused to generate revenue in various ways.
There are many examples of malspam campaigns (emails that are used to spread malware). Typically, these emails are used to trick recipients into installing ransomware, Trojans, or other types of malware.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Typically, ransomware and other malware is distributed through malspam campaigns, fake software updating tools, untrusted download sources, unofficial (third party) software activation tools and Trojans. Users infect computers with malware when they open malicious files that they receive via email.
Fake software updating tools do not update or fix any installed software - they simply install malware instead. They can also infect systems by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Examples of dubious file/software download channels are Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, various free file hosting sites and freeware download websites.
Users infect computers through these channels when they download and execute malicious files, which are often disguised as legitimate and regular. Software 'cracking' tools supposedly activate licensed software free of charge (illegally), however, rather than activating anything they often install malicious programs.
Trojans are rogue programs that, if installed, install other malware (causing chain infections).
How to avoid installation of malware
Do not trust irrelevant emails that have files attached (or contain website links) and are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Software should not be downloaded or installed through third party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages or other similar sources/tools. Use only official websites and direct links. Installed software should never be updated or activated with third party, unofficial tools, since they can install malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to use third party tools to activate licensed software. The only legitimate way to update and activate software is to use tools and functions that are provided by the official developers. Regularly scan your computer with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software - keep this software up to date. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "Your Microsoft subscription has been expired email scam" email message:
Subject: Your Microsoft subscription has been expired
Renew your Microsoft Subscriptions today.
You have active subscription(s) that expire on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Renew at Microsoft 365 admin center to avoid any subscription disruptions.
You'll find a complete list of your subscriptions in Microsoft 365 admin center.
Renew subscriptions >
Be sure to turn on recurring billing or work with your Partner to automatically renew these subscriptions.
Subscriptions expiring Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Here's summary information for your subscriptions that are expiring. The active license number shows all available
licenses you have for each product, including those from subscriptions that aren't expiring.
Learn more about your Subscriptions
Learn how to Renew your Subscriptions
Change your Subscriptions
If you need help, submit a support ticket.
Subscription name: Microsoft 365 Business
Microsoft respects your privacy. Review our online Privacy Statement
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052 USA
Screenshot of the fake Microsoft website used to steal login credentials:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Your Microsoft Subscription Has Been Expired spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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:
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.
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