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Do not trust "Verify Your Email Address" phishing emails

Also Known As: "Verify Your Email Address" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Verify Your Email Address"?

We inspected the "Verify Your Email Address" email and determined that it is spam. The letter states that the recipient's email account must be verified for security purposes. This spam mail operates as a phishing scam and aims to steal email passwords by promoting a fake sign-in webpage.

Verify Your Email Address email spam campaign

"Verify Your Email Address" email scam overview

The spam email "strongly recommends" verifying the mail account and implies that doing so will release any withheld messages into the inbox. The letter states that to secure the account and ensure that all important mail would reach it - the email must be verified. The process must be completed within 48 hours, as the link in the fake notification will no longer be valid if the time limit is exceeded.

The recipient is encouraged to press the "Verify Email Address" button and is reassured that a confirmation message will appear soon thereafter. When we clicked this button, we were redirected to a phishing website. What is noteworthy about this site is that it mimics the design of the recipient's email account sign-in page.

However, despite its potentially legitimate appearance - the promoted webpage is fake and designed to record entered information. Hence, by attempting to log in - victims will reveal their email account passwords to scammers.

In addition to losing their mail, users can have the content registered through it hijacked as well. To expand on the possible misuse, cyber criminals can use stolen finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, e-commerce, etc.) to make fraudulent transactions or online purchases.

Alternatively, the criminals can assume the identity of a social account's owner (e.g., email, social networking, social media, etc.) and ask the contact for loans or spread malware by sharing malicious files/links.

In summary, victims of scam mail like "Verify Your Email Address" can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you have already disclosed your log-in credentials, we strongly advise changing the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contacting their official support without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "Verify Your Email Address" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's email account must be verified for security purposes.
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

"Microsoft Services Agreement Update", "NATURALISTS", and "Large File Send" are a few of our newest finds within the phishing email category. It must be mentioned that spam mail is not used just to steal data; it can facilitate a wide variety of scams and even proliferates malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.).

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can have virulent files attached to or linked inside them (the latter leading to malicious sites that trick users into download/installation or ones capable of stealthily infiltrating malware). The files can be executables, archives, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc.

When such a 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 strongly recommend being cautious with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages. The attachments and links found in suspect/irrelevant mail must not be opened - since they can be malicious and cause system infections.

Another recommendation is to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010, as they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros.

However, malware is not distributed exclusively through spam mail. Therefore, we advise downloading only from official/verified channels and activating/updating software using genuine functions/tools (as illegal activation ["cracking"] tools and third-party updates can contain malware).

It is essential to be vigilant when browsing since fake and malicious online content typically appears legitimate and innocuous.

We must stress the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security programs must be used to run regular system scans and to remove 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 "Verify Your Email Address" spam email letter:

Subject: - Suspicion login Please Verify Your "********" Account

 
Verify Your Email Address
 
We strongly recommend you to follow the process below and sign in to verify and release messages to your mailbox.


To make your ******** account more secure and to receive important messages and transaction history from ********, Kindly use the button below to verify your email address. A confirmation message will appear subsequently.


Verify Email Address


*This verification email is valid for 48 hours.


This email is automatically generated.


Your privacy is important to us. See our online Security Center to learn how to protect your information.


©2022 Message Notification, N.A. 949794_FE_DE


If you think you received this email by mistake, report the issue


Copyright © 2022 ******** .

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Verify Your Email Address" spam campaign:

Verify Your Email Address scam email promoted phishing site

Yet another example of email verification-themed spam promoting an identical phishing site:

Verify Your Email Address spam (2022-12-07)

Text presented within:

Subject: Verify your ******** Pass Email

 

Verify Email

Verify your ******** Pass Email

To finish your ******** Pass account setup, please verify your email!

VERIFY EMAIL

Best wishes,
The ******** team

P.S. Have a question to this e-mail? Get more info

To ensure delivery to your inbox, please add [NoReply@********] to your address book.
2022 pCloud AG, 74 Zugerstrasse Str, 6340 Baar, Switzerland.

Yet another example of email verification-themed spam promoting a phishing site:

Verify Your Email Address email scam (2023-01-19)

Text presented within:

Subject: Important notice for ********

 

******** Notification - ID#220132819

********

Your Email address  will be blocked/removed today!!! You need to verify your primary E-mail/Password to continue using your account.

We encourage you to take time now to maintain your account activities to avoid login interruption or losing your account permanently.  
 
Verify your email address
Note: We will not be held responsible for any account loss. Please do not reply to this email.  
 
 ©2023  ********  Account and Services. All rights reserved Web App Support.

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site designed to imitate user's email provider:

Phishing site promoted via Verify Your Email Address email scam (2023-01-19)

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:
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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?

Cyber criminals send spam emails in large operations - therefore, thousands of users receive identical messages.

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

If you have provided log-in credentials - immediately change the passwords of all potentially affected accounts and inform their official support. And if you've disclosed other private data (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact the appropriate authorities without delay.

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

No, merely opening an email is harmless. Devices are infected when the attachments/links present in spam mail are opened/clicked.

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

If the opened file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - the system was infected. In contrast, document formats (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.) might need additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to begin downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware infections. Note that performing a complete system scan is essential - since high-end malicious programs typically 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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