What kind of email is "Account Termination Request"?
Our analysis of the "Account Termination Request" email revealed that it is spam that operates as a phishing scam. This letter claims that the recipient's email account will be terminated per their request. This mail attempts to lure users into disclosing their email account log-in credentials through the fake termination cancellation process.
"Account Termination Request" email scam overview
The letter with the subject "E-mail Account Termination Request" (may vary) informs recipient's that the requested email account termination process will begin shortly. They are notified that if the request was submitted in error or without their knowledge - it can be canceled and the account re-activated by using the link presented in the spam email. The letter warns that if the process goes through - the account will be closed, and all related data will be permanently deleted.
As mentioned in the introduction, all the claims made by the "Account Termination Request" email - are false. Hence, when we followed the "Cancel Request And Reactivate Now Automatically" link, it redirected us to a phishing website. The page was presented as an email account sign-in page.
Phishing sites operate by recording entered data; this particular webpage targeted email account log-in credentials (i.e., passwords). With this information in their possession, the scammers behind this spam campaign may gain access/control over exposed emails and the content registered through them.
For example, cyber criminals might hijack associated online banking, money-transferring, e-commerce, or other finance-related accounts and use them to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases. Additionally, scammers can use stolen communication accounts (e.g., emails, social media, social networking, messengers, etc.) to impersonate the owner and ask their contacts/friends for loans or proliferate malware (by sharing malicious files/links).
In summary, victims of this email scam can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.
If you have entered your log-in credentials into a phishing site, immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contact their official support.
|Name||"Account Termination Request" phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Recipient's email account will be terminated per their request.|
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Spam campaigns in general
We have inspected thousands of spam emails; "HR (Human Resources) email scam", "New Order", "Your Password Has Been Changed", "Your Email Was Suggested By Your Customer" - are merely some examples of ones used for phishing.
This mail is usually presented as "urgent", "priority", or similar; it can also be disguised as messages from legitimate companies, organizations, institutions, authorities, or other entities. In addition to various scams, spam emails are used to distribute trojans, ransomware, and other malware.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When an infectious file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands.
How to avoid installation of malware?
We highly recommend being careful with incoming mail. The attachments and links found in suspicious/irrelevant emails and messages must not be opened, as they can be malicious and cause system infections. It is just as important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros.
However, malware is proliferated using other techniques aside from spam mail. Therefore, we advise downloading only from official and verified sources. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and fake updates can contain malware.
Another recommendation is to exercise caution 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 up-to-date. Security 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 "Account Termination Request" email letter:
Subject: E-mail Account Termination Request
Account Termination Request
We have received - account termination request on 10/19/2022 and will begin the process shortly.
If this request was made accidentally and you have no knowledge of it, you are advised to cancel the request now.
Kindly cancel and re-activate your account automatically by following the link below:
Cancel Request And Reactivate Now Automatically
However, if you do not cancel this request and reactivate, your email account will be shut down shortly and all your email data will be lost permanently.
Using a shared computer to access your account.
Not logging off your account after usage.
Support - -
©2022 All Rights Reserved.
Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Account Termination Request" spam campaign:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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 "Account Termination Request" phishing email?
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why did I receive this email?
Spam emails are not personal; thousands of users receive identical letters.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?
If you've disclosed account credentials - change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have provided 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, opening/reading an email will not initiate any malware download/installation chains. Devices are infected when the attachments or links present in spam mail are opened/clicked.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
Whether an infection was triggered might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - your system was infected. However, document formats (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.) may need additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to start downloading/installing malware.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate practically all known malware infections. It is pertinent to mention that sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems - therefore, running a full system scan is paramount.