How to spot fake emails like "Storage Capacity"

Also Known As: Storage Capacity phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Storage Capacity"?

We inspected this email and learned that it is a scam email created to trick recipients into entering sensitive information on the provided phishing website. It is disguised as a letter from an email service provider regarding low email storage capacity. Scam emails should be marked as spam and deleted.

Storage Capacity phishing email

More about the "Storage Capacity" scam email

This scam email claims that some incoming messages with attachments are currently "hanging on your server" due to low storage capacity. It requests to review those messages to increase storage capacity. Clicking the "Review" button (hyperlink) opens a phishing website (fake sign-in page).

That page is designed to trick visitors into providing their password (to sign in using their email account login credentials). Entered passwords (with email addresses) are sent to scammers who then can use them to steal email and possibly other accounts (if more accounts can be accessed with the same login information).

Depending on the stolen accounts, crooks may use them to make fraudulent purchases and transactions, steal identities, deliver malware, send spam (and scam emails), etc. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to enter personal information on suspicious websites.

Threat Summary:
Name Storage Capacity Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Incoming emails are "hanging" on the server due to low storage capacity.
Disguise Letter from an email service provider
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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Similar scam emails in general

In most cases, phishing emails are disguised as important/official/urgent letters from legitimate entities or real people. They ask to provide sensitive information (e.g., login credentials, credit card details, ID card information) directly via email or on a deceptive page.

Examples of similar scam emails are "DHL Shipping Document/Invoice Receipt", "Microsoft Request Verification", and "Daily Quarantined Message Report". Crooks can also use emails to trick recipients into infecting their computers with malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Recipients cannot infect computers via emails without opening malicious links or attachments. In most cases, recipients infect computers via opened malicious pages of MS Office or PDF documents, JavaScript files, executables, archives, or ISO files. Threat actors succeed when users execute malware by themselves.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Regularly update the operating system and installed programs. Do not open links and attachments in suspicious emails (e.g., irrelevant emails sent from unknown addresses). Always inspect emails before opening their contents. Never use third-party tools to update or activate any software.

Download software (and files) from official websites and stores. Avoid downloads from other sources (e.g., shady pages, P2P networks, torrent sites, third-party downloaders, etc.). 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 "Storage Capacity" email letter:

Subject: ******** Review

Hello ********

Here's your email review for the past week. Some incoming messages with attachments are currently hanging on your server ******** due to low storage capacity.

Kindy review these messages and increase your storage capacity.
click below to review these messages.

Review generated for ******** Security Team.

Why did I receive this email?
Your email filtering service is provided by Webmail Networking, Inc. USA . These message review allows you to view and read your filtered emails.

Copyright© 2022 cPanel, L.L.C.
Privacy Policy

Screenshot of the phishing website:

storage capacity email scam phishing website

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

Storage capacity-themed spam email (2023-03-22)

Text presented within:

Subject: Alert!


Mail storage capacity: (98% full)

Hello Account Email: ********
We found that your mail account is infected and there is not enough storage space, which caused some of your mails to be blocked.
It is recommended that you upgrade and use 15GB for free, and protect your mailbox. mail data

Upgrade mailbox storage********

Source: Email Database ********

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site:

Phishing site promoted via storage capacity-themed spam email (2023-03-22)

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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?

Scammers sent the same letter to all recipients. Crooks behind phishing emails send non-targeted emails hoping someone will fall for them.

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

Change your passwords as soon as possible (especially if scammers can use the provided password and email address to log into multiple accounts).

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

Executable files infect computers after opening them. However, other files usually cannot cause harm until additional steps are performed (e.g., macros commands in malicious MS Office documents are enabled).

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

No, it is safe to open emails without clicking malicious links or opening attachments.

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner will remove malware from the operating system. It can detect almost all known malware. High-end malware usually hides deep in the system. Thus, computers infected with such malware must be scanned using a full scan.

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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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