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Do not trust fake "Your Account Is Set To Close" emails

Also Known As: "Your Account Is Set To Close" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Your Account Is Set To Close"?

The "Your Account Is Set To Close" email is spam, presented as a notification from Microsoft. This fake letter claims that the recipient's email account will be closed unless action is taken. Our inspection of this email revealed that it operates as a phishing scam targeting log-in credentials.

Your Account Is Set To Close email spam campaign

"Your Account Is Set To Close" email scam overview

The letter with the subject "Microsoft account security notification" (may vary) lists the date that the recipient's email account will supposedly be closed. The reason is stated to be inactivity and unresolved account-related errors. Following its closing, the account will allegedly be deleted.

If they wish to keep the email account, the recipient is instructed to press the "To resolve issue, click here." link presented in the fake message. When we clicked this link, we were redirected to a phishing website disguised as a sign-in page. Log-in credentials entered into this fake site will be disclosed to scammers.

In addition to stealing the exposed emails, cyber criminals can also hijack the content registered through them. Stolen accounts can be variously misused.

For example, communication-related platforms (e.g., emails, social networking, social media, messengers, etc.) can be used to ask the contacts/friends/followers for loans or donations, promote scams, and/or proliferate malware (by sharing malicious files/links) – under the guise of the account's genuine owner.

Finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, money transferring, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

In summary, by trusting an email like "Your Account Is Set To Close" – users can experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have provided your log-in credentials to scammers – immediately change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support.

Threat Summary:
Name "Your Account Is Set To Close" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's email account will be closed and deleted unless certain actions are taken.
Disguise Microsoft
Related Domains descontoss[.]com
Detection Names (descontoss[.]com) Combo Cleaner (Phishing), Emsisoft (Phishing), ESET (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), G-Data (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (descontoss[.]com) 50.116.86.49
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 campaigns examples

We have inspected countless spam emails; "Your Account Failed To Update", "Unsuccessful Cash Box Delivery", "Abandoned Funds" – are merely a few examples of ones used for phishing. This mail can be disguised as messages from legitimate service providers, companies, organizations, institutions, authorities, or other entities.

Spam is used to facilitate a wide variety of scams and to distribute malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.). Due to how widespread this mail is – we strongly advise being vigilant with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns proliferate malware by distributing malicious files as attachments or download links. These files can be Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth.

When a virulent file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – malware download/installation processes are triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We advise against opening the attachments or links found in suspicious/irrelevant emails and other messages, as they can be malicious and cause system infections. It is important to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.

It is pertinent to mention that malware is not distributed exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we also recommend downloading only from official and trustworthy channels. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.

Another recommendation is to be careful when browsing since illegitimate and dangerous online content usually appears ordinary and innocuous.

We must stress 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/issues. 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 "Your Account Is Set To Close" spam email letter:

Subject: Microsoft account security notification


Microsoft account


Your account is set to close on 1/14/2023


Dear ********,


Your account ******** is scheduled to be closed on 1/14/2023 due to account inactivity and failed to resolve errors on your mail. Once your account is closed it will be deleted in accordance with the Microsoft Services Agreement.


If you want to keep your account, sign in between now and 1/14/2023. All your files, data and info will be just as you left them until then.


To resolve issue, click here.


Thanks,
The Microsoft account team

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by "Your Account Is Set To Close" spam campaign:

Your Account Is Set To Close scam email promoted phishing site

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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. Cyber criminals distribute them by the thousand with the hopes that at least some recipients will fall for the scams.

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

If you have provided account credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if the disclosed information was of a different personal nature (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, infections are caused when malicious attachments/links found in spam mail are opened.

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

Whether an infection occurred might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – your device was compromised. However, documents (.pdf, .doc, .xls, 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 is capable of detecting and eliminating nearly all known malware infections. It must be stressed that since sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems – running a complete system scan is essential.

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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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