Avoid getting scammed by fake "American Express Security Team" emails

Also Known As: "American Express Security Team" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "American Express Security Team"?

After inspecting the "American Express Security Team" email, we determined that it is fake. This spam letter is presented as a notification regarding a declined cardless purchase. The goal is to trick the recipient into providing their account credentials into a phishing file. It must be emphasized that this email is in no way associated with the actual American Express Company.

American Express Security Team email spam campaign

"American Express Security Team" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "Alert ! Card Purchase Declined" (may vary) is disguised as a notification from the "American Express Security Team". It alerts the recipient that a cardless purchase made with American Express has been declined.

Supposedly, the card account has been put on temporary suspension pending the owner's identity verification. The fake letter instructs the recipient to download the attached file and proceed to verify their identity by signing into their American Express account.

As mentioned in the introduction, all the claims made by this email are false, and it is not associated with the real American Express Company. The attachment is an HTML file used for phishing. It requests the user to sign into their card account.

Information entered into phishing files is recorded and sent to cyber criminals. Hence, victims of this spam mail risk having their American Express accounts stolen.

The criminals can then use the hijacked accounts to perform unauthorized transactions, online purchases, or otherwise carry out finance and identity related misdeeds.

In summary, by trusting an email like "American Express Security Team" – users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have already disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. It may also be wise to contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "American Express Security Team" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Purchase made with American Express has been declined.
Disguise American Express
Attachment(s) American_Express_Card_Security.html (filename may vary)
Detection Names Combo Cleaner (Trojan.JS.Phishing.DI), ESET-NOD32 (HTML/Phishing.Agent.EJL), Fortinet (JS/Phishing.6044!tr), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Script.Generic), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/PhishLeonem), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Phishing spam campaign examples

"Emails From A Trusted Sender", "Account Has Been Re-queued For Deactivation", "New Webmail Version", and "You've Received A Secure File" are just a few examples of phishing emails we have examined recently.

Spam of this kind may target usernames/passwords, credit card numbers, personally identifiable information, and other vulnerable data. Various scams are facilitated through deceptive messages. Furthermore, this mail is also used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, and other malware.

Due to how prevalent and potentially well-made spam mail can be, we strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails spread malware by distributing malicious files, which can be attached to or linked inside the messages. Infectious files can be documents (e.g., PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), archives (e.g., ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (e.g., .exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Once such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the malware download/installation process is jumpstarted. For example, Microsoft Office files infect systems by executing malicious macro commands, while virulent OneNote documents need users to click on embedded files or links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is paramount to approach incoming emails and other messages with care. We advise against opening attachments or links found in dubious/irrelevant mail, as they can be virulent. We recommend using post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.

Since malware is not distributed exclusively via spam mail, we also advise being cautious while browsing, as fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears legitimate and harmless.

Additionally, all downloads must be performed from official and verified channels. Another recommendation is to activate and update programs using genuine functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.

We must stress the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security 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 the "American Express Security Team" spam email letter:

Subject: Alert ! Card Purchase Declined

American Express Security Team

A recent cardless purchase you made has been declined.

For safety reasons, We've temporarily put a hold on your card account untill you verify identity. Please download the secure attachment to prove account ownership to unlock your card account.


Dear Receiver,

Please review this purchase
This is an electronically generated notice.

This note keeps a secure link to clover security. Do not share this access code with other people.


Other Signing Method
Visit American Express, click 'Access Documents', and enter the security code: F899AAB514

About clover merchant
Sign documents in just minutes. It's safe. Whether you are at work, at home or even across the globe -- merchant provides a professional solution for Digital Transaction .

Have questions about an payment?
In case you need to modify an invoice or have inquiries , reach out to the sender by emailing them directly.

If you are having trouble signing the document, see the   Help with Signing  page on our   support Center .

Screenshot of the phishing file attached to this spam email ("American_Express_Card_Security.html"):

American Express Security Team scam email attachment (American_Express_Card_Security.html)

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

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?

Cyber criminals send spam mail in large-scale campaigns – therefore, thousands of users receive identical emails.

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

If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all possibly compromised accounts and inform their official support. And if the exposed information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) – contact relevant authorities without delay.

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

Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked; merely reading an email will not trigger any malware download/installation processes.

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 – the system was infected. However, you might have avoided this if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require extra actions (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.) – to begin malware download/installation.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate practically all known malware infections. It must be stressed that since sophisticated malicious software typically hides deep within systems – running a full system scan is essential.

▼ Show Discussion

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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

About PCrisk

PCrisk is a cyber security portal, informing Internet users about the latest digital threats. Our content is provided by security experts and professional malware researchers. Read more about us.

Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
American Express Security Team phishing email QR code
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of "American Express Security Team" phishing email on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Windows malware infections today:

Download Combo Cleaner

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Combo Cleaner:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.