Do not trust fake "Password Is Scheduled To Expire" emails

Also Known As: "Password Is Scheduled To Expire" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Password Is Scheduled To Expire"?

"Password Is Scheduled To Expire" is yet another spam email. After inspecting this letter, we determined that it operates as a phishing scam.

This fake message notifies the recipient that their email account password is about to expire and requires immediate action (i.e., reconfirming the old password) to avoid undesirable consequences. By trusting this email - users will unintentionally expose their email accounts to scammers.

Password Is Scheduled To Expire email spam campaign

"Password Is Scheduled To Expire" email scam overview

The email with the subject "[Ticket ID: [#GTR-801-71951]: IMPORTANT: You have 1 new message(s) in your [recipient's_email_address] Mailbox Service(s)" (may vary) informs the recipient that their email account password will expire at a certain date.

The spam letter instructs to click the button presented in it to keep the current password. The recipient is warned that failure to comply may lead to the email being blocked or an automatic password reset. As mentioned in the introduction, the "Password Is Scheduled To Expire" email is fake - hence, all the claims made by it are false.

When the "Keep Same Password Here" button is clicked, it results in a redirect to a phishing website. This site mimics the recipient's email service provider's webpage design. To elaborate, the sample we inspected was sent to a Bing email account - and that is what the phishing site was disguised as; the disguise will vary depending on the recipient's email service provider. Since the fake page is hosted on a legitimate cloud service, it is not detected as malicious.

By attempting to sign in through the website promoted by the "Password Is Scheduled To Expire" scam email - users will inadvertently reveal their email log-in credentials to the scammers behind this spam campaign. With this information in their possession, the cyber criminals can steal the email account and associated content (e.g., platforms, services, accounts, etc., registered with the email).

Scammers can use hijacked communication accounts (e.g., emails, social media, messengers, etc.) to ask the contacts for loans or distribute malware (by sharing malicious files/links) - under the guise of the genuine owner.

Cyber criminals can use finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, digital wallets, etc.) to make unauthorized transactions and online purchases.

In summary, phishing emails like "Password Is Scheduled To Expire" can cause severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even lead to identity theft.

If you have already provided your log-in credentials - immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support.

Threat Summary:
Name "Password Is Scheduled To Expire" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Email account password will expire, unless it is re-confirmed - the account may be blocked or the password automatically reset.
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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Phishing spam campaign examples

"DHL Express - CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE", "Error From Your Mail Server", and "You Have 3 Encrypted Documents" are merely a few examples of phishing emails that we have analyzed recently. In addition to various scams, spam letters are used to proliferate malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.).

This mail may have very convincing disguises and closely initiate the emails/sites of legitimate companies, service providers, organizations, institutions, authorities, and other entities. Therefore, we strongly recommend being cautious with incoming emails and messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can contain infectious files as attachments or download links. These files can be archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so on.

Once such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection process is jumpstarted. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We advise against opening the attachments/links found in suspicious or irrelevant emails and messages - since that can result in a system infection. It is essential to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions, as they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros.

Since malware is not spread exclusively through spam mail, we also recommend downloading only from official and verified channels. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated using functions/tools provided by genuine developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters may contain malware.

Another recommendation is to be careful when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content usually appears ordinary and harmless.

We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. This software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats. 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 "Password Is Scheduled To Expire" spam email letter:

Subject: [Ticket ID: [#GTR-801-71951]: IMPORTANT: You have 1 new message(s) in your ******** Mailbox Service(s)

My Account
******** Password Message

Hi ********,

The password to your email ******** is scheduled to expire on 15/9/2022.

To continue using this email and keep same password kindly use the keep same password button below

Keep Same Password Here

IMPORTANT: Failure to carry out above excercise might lead to account lock, unauthorized password reset until necessary action is taken.

Email(s) Due to expire on September 15, 2022
Name     Account Owner     Active
********     ********     Yes

Please note that you can only download or read the message with the email ********  this message was sent to
No third-party access.




About Us   |   Support   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions  |  Account Login

Copyright © 2022 ********

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by this spam campaign (site design varies depending on the recipient's email service provider):

Password Is Scheduled To Expire scam email promoted phishing site

Another example of an email from "Password Is Scheduled To Expire" spam campaign:

Password Is Scheduled To Expire spam email (2022-12-02)

Text presented within:

Subject: Password for ******** expires soon from Today 12/1/2022 2:42:24 p.m.

Password Message

The password to your email ******** is scheduled to expire on 12/1/2022 2:42:24 p.m.

To continue using this email and keep same password kindly use the keep same password button below
Keep Same Password Here
Failure to carry out above exercise might lead to account lock, until necessary action is taken.
Please note that you can only download or read the message with the email ******** this message was sent to
No third-party access.2022

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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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Spam emails are not personal. This mail is sent in mass-scale campaigns - therefore, thousands of users receive identical letters.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?

If you have disclosed account credentials - change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've revealed other private data (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - immediately contact relevant authorities.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, merely opening/reading an email will not trigger any malware download/installation chains. Systems are infected when the attachments or links found in spam mail are opened/clicked.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?

If the file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - your device was infected. However, you might have avoided it if the file was a document (.pdf, .doc, .xls, etc.). These formats may require additional interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to start downloading/installing malicious software.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating most of the known malware infections. It is noteworthy that running a full system scan is paramount - as sophisticated malicious programs usually hide deep within systems.

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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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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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