Avoid losing your email via "Account Will Be Terminated" phishing emails

Also Known As: "Account Will Be Terminated" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Account Will Be Terminated"?

Our analysis of the "Account Will Be Terminated" email revealed that it is spam. This fake letter claims that the recipient's email account will be closed – unless it is upgraded.

When the user attempts to update their account, the link in the letter redirects them to a phishing website. This site mimics the recipient's email account sign-in page and records the entered credentials.

Account Will Be Terminated email spam campaign

"Account Will Be Terminated" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "Account Will Be Terminated 23 Feb 2023" (may vary) informs the recipient of the date their mail account will be closed. The scam letter urges them to upgrade the account – so as to avoid its termination. As previously mentioned, this email and all its claims are fake.

When we pressed the "Click Here to UPGRADE" button, it resulted in a redirect to a phishing site. This webpage imitates the design of the recipient's email account sign-in page. The log-in credentials (i.e., email address and corresponding password) entered into this website are disclosed to the cyber criminals behind this spam campaign.

With this data in their possession, the criminals can steal the exposed email accounts and potentially the content registered through them.

To elaborate, scammers can steal the identities of social platform users (e.g., emails, social networking, social media, messengers, etc.) and ask the friends/followers for loans, promote scams, and even distribute malware by sharing malicious files/links. Cyber criminals can use stolen finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

In summary, by trusting an email like "Account Will Be Terminated" – users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

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

Threat Summary:
Name "Account Will Be Terminated" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's email account will be terminated unless it is upgraded.
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

We have inspected thousands of spam emails; "TNT AWB", "Retirement Funds", "Mailbox Quota Exceeded", and "Intesa Sanpaolo email scam" are just a few examples of ones used for phishing.

In addition to various scams, spam letters are used to proliferate malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.). These emails can be variously disguised, including as messages from legitimate organizations, companies, institutions, service providers, authorities, and other entities.

Due to how widespread spam mail is – we highly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can contain malicious files as attachments or download links. These files can be archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), documents (Microsoft Office, PDF, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

When such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the malware download/installation process is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands. While virulent Microsoft OneNote documents require users to click on embedded files/links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly recommend being careful with incoming emails and other messages. The attachments and links present in suspicious mail must not be opened, as they can be infectious. It is important to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.

However, malware is not proliferated exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we advise downloading only from official and verified channels. Furthermore, software must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updaters can contain malware.

Another recommendation is to be vigilant when browsing since fake and dangerous online content usually appears innocuous.

We must stress the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security programs 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 Will Be Terminated" spam email letter:

Subject: Account Will Be Terminated 23 Feb 2023

Account Will Be Terminated  23 Feb 2023 ,

Dear ********,

This message is being sent to you to inform you that your email is about to be closed at 23 Feb 2023

If you wish to continue using this account  please upgrade to our services. Ignoring this message will cause the account to be closed.

Click Here to UPGRADE

Note: This upgrade is required immediately after receiving this message
Thank you
******** 2023

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Account Will Be Terminated" spam campaign:

Account Will Be Terminated scam email promoted phishing site

Another example of an email from "Account Will Be Terminated" spam campaign:

Your account will be Terminated/Blocked email scam

Text presented within:

Subject: Termination Of Your -


Dear - ,

Your account will be Terminated/Blocked on 08, 03,2023 .

This is due to non-upgraded storage quotas and multiple spam messages from your account.

Notification ID: 3agX2p

Click the button below to authenticate and verify your account now.

Start checking now

Yet another example of an email from "Account Will Be Terminated" spam campaign:

Account Will Be Terminated email scam (2023-07-04)

Text presented within:

Subject: Your Account will be De-activated In 48hrs.


Dear ******** ,

Your ******** has missed several important upgrades and it is unfortunate that we will have to de-activate it due to this error.

To fix this problem and continue using your Account, Kindly Complete the upgrade process by following the attached instructions Now!!.

Regards ******** Upgrade Team

******** 2023

Screenshot of the attached HTML file designed for phishing purposes:

Phishing HTML attachment distributed via Account Will Be Terminated scam email (2023-07-04)

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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 send this mail in massive operations – hence, 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 your account credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've disclosed other private information (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

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

No, merely opening an email will not trigger any system infection processes. Devices are infected when virulent attachments or links are opened/clicked.

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

If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – the system was infected. However, documents (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.) may need additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.) to begin 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 noted that running a complete system scan is crucial – since sophisticated malicious software usually hides 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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