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How to spot scams like "Microsoft Request Verification" email scam

Also Known As: Microsoft Request Verification phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Microsoft Request Verification"?

It is a scam email created to steal login information. It is disguised as a letter from Microsoft regarding account verification. It contains a link to a phishing page (a fake login website). This scam email should be marked as spam and deleted.

Microsoft Request Verification scam email

More about the "Microsoft Request Verification" scam email

This email requests recipients to verify their identity via the provided "secure" link. Clicking the "Verify Your Identity" button opens a deceptive website mimicking Microsoft or another page, depending on the recipient's email address (email service provider).

In all cases, the opened website requests visitors to enter a password to sign in. Scammers use that page to steal login information. The obtained information can be used to steal email accounts and any other account that can be accessed with the provided email address and password.

Typically, scammers use stolen email accounts to access personal information, send spam, deliver malware, and for other malicious purposes. Also, they try to log into other accounts with the obtained login information. Depending on the type of accessed accounts, they may use them to make fraudulent purchases, or transactions, steal identities, etc.

Threat Summary:
Name Microsoft Request Verification Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Identity must be verified to continue.
Disguise Letter from Microsoft.
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft.
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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Similar scam emails in general

Phishing emails are used to steal sensitive information. They are used to extract credit card details, login credentials (e.g., usernames, passwords), ID card information, social security numbers, or other personal information that could be monetized in one way or another.

Emails of this kind usually are disguised as official, important, or urgent letters from legitimate entities. They often contain logos, addresses, and other attributes belonging to real/existing companies. Examples of phishing emails are "Daily Quarantined Message Report", "Incoming Messages ERROR Notification", and "Used Memory Account Storage".

Crooks use emails not only to steal sensitive information but also to trick recipients into infecting their computers with malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cybercriminals who use email to deliver malware send emails containing malicious attachments. They aim to trick recipients into opening malicious pages or files. The most commonly used files to trick users into infecting computers are malicious MS Office, PDF documents, JavaScript files, archives (like ZIP, RAR), ISO files, and executables.

Usually, infected MS Office documents infect computers after enabling macros commands unless they are opened with MS Office versions released before 2010. Older MS Office versions do not have the "Protected View" feature that prevents opened malicious documents from injecting malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Download programs and files from official websites (or stores). Using other sources (e.g., P2P networks, free file hosting pages, shady websites, third-party downloaders, etc., can lead to malicious downloads.

Do not open attachments and links in suspicious emails (e.g., irrelevant emails sent from unknown addresses). Always examine emails before opening their contents. Keep your computer and installed programs updated.

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 "Microsoft Request Verification" email letter:

Subject: RE:ORDER 11-28-2022


Microsoft

Request Verification

You've received a secure link to:

RE:ORDER 11-28-2022


By clicking Verify your identity you allow -

to use your email address in accordance with their privacy statement.

2022 Microsoft Privacy & Cookies

Phishing website mimicking Microsoft page used to steal login information:

microsoft request verification email scam phishing website

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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?

The same email was sent to all recipients. Usually, phishing emails are non-targeted (they rarely are personal).

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

Change your passwords as soon as possible. Especially if the stolen password can be used to sign into more than one account.

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

Malicious MS Office, PDF documents, archive files, and other files cannot infect computers without performing additional actions (e.g., enabling macros commands in documents). However, executables usually inject malware after opening/executing them. It depends on the type of file.

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

No, emails are harmless until their contents (links or attachments) are opened.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Combo Cleaner will scan the operating system for threats and remove them. This app can detect almost all known malware. It is required to run a full system scan to remove high-end malware since malware of this kind usually hides deep.

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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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