Avoid having your account stolen via "Email Verification Alert" spam email
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of email is "Email Verification Alert"?
Our inspection of the "Email Verification Alert" letter revealed that it is spam. The scam email states that due to declined upgrades, the recipient's mailbox cannot process incoming messages. This spam mail aims to trick users into visiting the promoted phishing website.
"Email Verification Alert" email scam overview
The email with the subject "VERIFICATION [recipient's_email_address]" (may vary) is presented as a mail notification alert. It informs the recipient that their account can no longer receive incoming emails due to them having declined an upgrade. The spam letter states that the update must be completed immediately after this notification's receipt.
After we pressed the "Click here to upgrade now" button presented in this email, it caused a redirect to a nonfunctional website. It is most probable that it was supposed to be a phishing site. Additionally, it must be stressed that this may be rectified in future releases of this spam campaign; hence, this mail could redirect to an operational webpage.
In most cases, spam of this kind promotes phishing websites that are disguised as legitimate email account sign-in pages. They work by recording entered log-in credentials (e.g., email account address and corresponding password). With this data in their possession, scammers can steal the exposed mail accounts and potentially the content registered through them.
To elaborate on the impact of this, cyber criminals may steal the identities of social account (e.g., email, social networking/media, messenger, etc.) owners and ask their friends/followers for loans or donations, promote scams, and spread malware by sharing malicious files/links.
Furthermore, hijacked finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to perform unauthorized transactions and/or online purchases.
In summary, by trusting an email like "Email Verification Alert" – users may experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.
If you have already provided your account credentials – immediately change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and contact their official support.
|Name||"Email Verification Alert" phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Incoming emails cannot reach the inbox due to a declined upgrade.|
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Phishing spam campaign examples
"Fill The Sars", "EMAIL ACCOUNT SHUTDOWN REQUEST", and "Purchase Confirmation" are just a couple examples of phishing emails that we have inspected recently.
In addition to facilitating scams, this mail is also used to distribute malware. These letters can be variously disguised, including as messages from genuine service providers, companies, organizations, institutions, and other entities.
Spam mail is widespread and quite convincing, and due to this – we strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails and other messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When an infectious file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the malware download/installation chain is jumpstarted. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands, while virulent OneNote files require users to click on embedded content.
How to avoid installation of malware?
We advise being careful with incoming emails and other messages. The attachments or links present in dubious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be infectious. It is essential to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.
Since malware is not proliferated exclusively via spam mail, we also advise downloading only from official/trustworthy sources. Additionally, software must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updates can contain malware.
Another recommendation is to exercise caution while browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content typically appears ordinary and harmless.
We must emphasize the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security programs must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove 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 the "Email Verification Alert" spam email letter:
Subject: VERIFICATION -
Email Verification Alert
To inform you that your account cannot process incoming emails and files because you declined to upgrade your mailbox account.
Click here to upgrade now
Note: You must do this immediately after receiving this message to receive this upgrade.
Account Team © 2023
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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:
- What is "Email Verification Alert" phishing email?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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:
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 distribute spam emails in large-scale 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 disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've provided other private information (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, opening/reading an email will not result in a system infection. Malware download/installation processes are triggered when malicious attachments or links 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 – your device was infected. However, you might have avoided this if it was a document (.xls, .doc, .one, .pdf, etc.) since these formats may require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking on embedded files/links, etc.) – to start downloading/installing malware.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to detect and eliminate threats. It can remove practically all known malware infections. Note that since sophisticated malicious programs tend to hide deep within systems – running a full system scan is paramount.
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