Avoid losing your account via fake "Email Deactivation In Progress" emails

Also Known As: "Email Deactivation In Progress" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Email Deactivation In Progress"?

Our examination of "Email Deactivation In Progress" revealed that it is spam mail. This fake letter claims that a request to deactivate the recipient's account has been received. The phishing email offers an option to cancel the deactivation, attempting to complete which will result in the recipient's account log-in credentials getting exposed to the scammers behind this spam campaign.

Email Deactivation In Progress email spam campaign

"Email Deactivation In Progress" email scam overview

The scam email with the subject "Deactivation Request In Progress" (may vary) states that account deactivation is in process. The letter lists the date when the nonexistent email deletion request was received. If this was done in error or by someone other than the account's owner, the spam email informs that the process can be canceled.

It must be emphasized that all these claims are false – hence, the recipient's account will not be deleted, nor will their email data be permanently lost. It must also be mentioned that this spam mail is in no way associated with any legitimate service providers.

Once we clicked the "CANCEL DEACTIVATION REQUEST" button presented in this spam email, it resulted in a redirect to a phishing website. It imitates the recipient's email account sign-in webpage. Despite the potentially convincing appearance, this webpage is fake, and it records entered information (i.e., email account passwords).

The risk exceeds the loss of an email, as the cyber criminals may also steal the accounts and platforms registered through it. To elaborate, scammers can steal the identities of the social account owners (e.g., emails, social networking, messengers, etc.) and ask the contacts/friends for loans or donations, promote scams, and proliferate malware by sharing malicious files/links.

Furthermore, stolen finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, e-commerce, cryptowallets, etc.) can be used to make unauthorized transactions and online purchases. What is more, should any confidential/compromising content be found on data storage or similar platforms – it could be used for blackmail or other nefarious purposes.

To summarize, by trusting an email like "Email Deactivation In Progress" – users experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have already disclosed your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all possibly compromised accounts and contact their official support.

Threat Summary:
Name "Email Deactivation In Progress" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient's email account will be deactivated unless the process is cancelled.
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

"Your Messages Couldn't Be Delivered", "Routine System Maintenance", "Process Of Enhancing Our Webmail Software", "Chan & Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI)", and "HR Department Shared A File With You" are merely some examples of phishing emails that we have analyzed recently.

Log-in credentials, personally identifiable details, and finance-related information – are most commonly targeted by phishing scams. However, spam mail is used to promote other types of scams as well, and it is utilized in malware distribution.

These emails can be plain and riddled with errors or be elaborately disguised as messages from legitimate service providers, companies, institutions, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns are commonly used in malware proliferation. Deceptive emails/messages can include infectious files as attachments or download links. The files come in various formats, e.g., documents (PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

When a malicious file is opened – the infection chain is triggered. However, some formats might require additional actions to initiate system infection processes. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents need them to click on embedded files or links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We highly recommend treating incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages with caution. Attachments or links present in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be virulent. It is important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since their "Protected View" mode prevents automatic macro execution.

Note that malware is not distributed exclusively through spam mail. Therefore, we also advise being vigilant while browsing, as fraudulent and dangerous online content usually appears genuine and harmless.

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

It is paramount for device/user safety to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. This software must be used to run 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 Deactivation In Progress" spam email letter:

Subject: Deactivation Request In Progress

Email Deactivation in progress                                                    

Dear Valued ********

Notice indicates that you recently made a request to deactivate your email account on 10/10/2023 6:51:13 p.m.

If this request was made accidentally, this request will be processed shortly.
if it wasnt requested you, you are advised to cancel the request below.


However if you do not cancel this request your email account will be deactivated permanently and all your email data will be lost permanently.

******** Server Support 2023

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Email Deactivation In Progress" spam campaign:

Email Deactivation In Progress scam email promoted phishing site

Another example of an email from "Email Deactivation In Progress" spam campaign:

Email Deactivation In Progress scam (2023-10-26)

Text presented within:

Subject: ********** Deactivation Request.


Email Deactivation in Progress

Dear **********

We received a request to permanently deactivate your email account (**********) and this request will be processed shortly.

Immediate action is required to continue using this service. If you made this request, please ignore this message, but if this request was not from you, kindly use the below button to reinstate your services and keep your mailbox active.

Cancel Deactivation

If you fail to cancel this request within 7days, your account will be deactivated and some of the associated services - like email boxes - will also be deleted permanently.


This email was sent to: **********

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site:

Phishing site promoted via Email Deactivation In Progress scam (2023-10-26)

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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?

Cyber criminals distribute spam emails in mass-scale campaigns – therefore, thousands of users receive identical messages.

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

If the disclosed information were log-in credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if it was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, 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, opening/reading an email will not trigger any malware download/installation processes. Systems are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked.

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

Whether your device was infected might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes. However, you might have avoided the infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, .one, etc.). These formats can require extra actions to jumpstart malware download/installation chains (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded files/links, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating nearly all known malware infections. Keep in mind that performing a complete system scan is paramount since sophisticated malicious software tends to hide 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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