How to spot scams like "Adobe PDF Shared"

Also Known As: Adobe PDF Shared phishing campaign
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Adobe PDF Shared"?

Upon inspecting this email, we determined it to be a phishing attempt, posing as a notification regarding a shared document. Scammers employ this method to deceive recipients into visiting a fake website and divulging sensitive information. Consequently, we strongly advise recipients to refrain from engaging with this email and to disregard it.

Adobe PDF Shared phishing scam

More about the "Adobe PDF Shared" scam email

This phishing email impersonates Adobe and is designed to deceive recipients. It falsely claims that recipients have received a shared Adobe PDF file and provides details such as the file title and size. The email includes a "Download PDF" link, intending to trick recipients into clicking on it and revealing sensitive information.

Clicking the provided button leads to a fraudulent login page that asks for the user's email account password. Stolen email account login credentials can be used for a range of malicious activities. These include identity theft, email hijacking, financial fraud, launching phishing campaigns, and even blackmail.

Scammers can also use these credentials for credential stuffing, attempting to access other online services where the victim may have used the same login information. Additionally, they may sell the stolen information to other cybercriminals.

Threat Summary:
Name Adobe PDF Shared Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Adobe shared a PDF document with the recipient
Disguise Letter from Adobe
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

Phishing emails are deceptive messages designed to trick recipients into disclosing sensitive information, such as login credentials, financial details, or personal data. These emails often impersonate legitimate entities like banks, social media platforms, or trusted organizations.

They typically contain urgent or enticing requests, encouraging recipients to click on malicious links or download harmful attachments. Phishing emails can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, and unauthorized access to personal accounts, making it important for individuals to exercise caution and verify the authenticity of email communications.

Examples of phishing emails are "Product Request", "Release All Of Your Held Messages", and "Your Mail Version Is Currently Being Disconnected".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Users can accidentally compromise their computers by engaging with attachments or links within fraudulent emails. These emails often carry infected attachments, such as PDFs, Microsoft Office files (like Word or Excel), JavaScript files, executable files (with .exe extensions), or compressed archive files (like ZIP or RAR).

When users open these attachments or click on included links, they might unknowingly trigger the downloading and running of harmful software, like ransomware or trojans. Threat actors often use manipulation tactics in emails to convince users to take these dangerous actions.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Exercise caution when encountering emails from unfamiliar or suspicious senders, especially if they include unexpected attachments or links. Download software and files exclusively from well-known and legitimate sources. Steer clear of untrustworthy websites, unofficial app stores, and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, as these frequently host malicious software.

Install trustworthy antivirus or anti-malware software. Ensure you regularly update your operating system, software, and antivirus program. Be careful when clicking on ads, pop-ups, or links on dubious pages. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Adobe PDF Shared" email letter:

Subject: Fwd: Contract Document to be signed by -

Adobe PDF Shared

Dear info,

We're pleased to inform you that Admin has shared an Adobe PDF file with you.

File Details:

Title: scanned_document.pdf
Size: 1.6mb

Download PDF

If you have any issues downloading or viewing the PDF, please contact the file owner or reply to this email.

Best regards,

Adobe Team

Phishing website used to extract email account login credentials:

Adobe PDF Shared phishing website used to extract email account login credentials

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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 send identical letters to thousands of individuals with the expectation that someone will be deceived by them. These spam emails lack any personalization.

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

Take quick action if you have accidentally shared personal info on a deceptive page. Change your passwords, keep a close eye on your accounts for odd activity, and think about notifying the relevant authorities or institutions about the possible security breach.

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

Opening a malicious email attachment can potentially compromise your computer. Files like .exe files pose a higher risk, while with file types like MS Office documents, infections usually happen when users enable macros commands.

I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Simply opening an email is a harmless action without any inherent threat. The risk arises when you click on links within the email or open attached files.

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

Combo Cleaner will scan your computer and effectively eliminate malware. It has the capability to identify the majority of known malware. Performing a thorough system scan is crucial for the complete removal of advanced malware since these types of threats often conceal themselves deeply within the system.

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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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