Avoid getting scammed by emails delivering fake Adobe invoices

Also Known As: "Adobe Invoice" spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Adobe Invoice"?

Our examination of this "Adobe Invoice" email revealed that it is spam. The letter is presented as an invoice for a year-long subscription to Adobe. It is the lure used to trick recipients into a callback scam. Oftentimes, the goal of such schemes is to deceive victims into disclosing private data or making monetary transactions.

Adobe Invoice email spam campaign

"Adobe Invoice" email scam overview

The spam email is disguised as an invoice detailing an Adobe subscription for a year. Despite all the information in the letter, it is not specified what Adobe product the subscription should be for. The sum is 312.49 USD. The email includes a telephone number for "customer support".

It must be stressed that this invoice is fake, and it is in no way associated with Adobe Inc. or any of its products/services.

The spam email aims to entice recipients into calling the bogus helpline. Callback scams can take place entirely over the phone, wherein the fake support can deceive victims into disclosing sensitive information, making monetary transactions, or downloading/installing malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.).

However, these schemes often incorporate elements of tech support scams, more information on which can be found in our articles on remote access software commonly used in them – UltraViewer and TeamViewer.

Callback schemes can entail scammers remotely accessing victims' devices. The alleged reason can be aid with subscription cancellation, refunds, product installation, issue/threat removal, etc. Once connected, cyber criminals continue pretending to be support/technicians while removing genuine security tools, installing fake anti-viruses, extracting data, obtaining funds, downloading/installing malware, or performing other nefarious activities.

Information of interest primarily includes account log-in credentials (e.g., emails, social media, e-commerce, online banking, cryptowallets, etc.), personally identifiable info (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, etc.), and finance-related data (e.g., banking account details, credit card numbers, etc.).

Refund scams necessitate remote access. Scammers request users to sign into their bank accounts and then use a functionality of the remote program to darken victims' screens. Users are instructed to enter the refund amount while they cannot see what they're typing.

Meanwhile, cyber criminals either manipulate the bank webpage's HTML or transfer money between accounts (e.g., from savings to checking) – thus creating the impression that users received excessive refunds. Scammers claim that victims have made an error when entering the sum and plead for the return of the excess. Since no funds were actually transferred to victims' accounts – by returning the "surplus", they give their own money to the criminals.

Difficult-to-trace methods are typically used for fund transfers, e.g., cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, gift cards, cash hidden in innocent-looking packages and shipped, etc. These methods diminish the chances of persecution and victims retrieving their funds. It is pertinent to mention that successfully scammed users are often targeted repeatedly.

To summarize, victims of spam mail like "Adobe Invoice" can experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you have allowed cyber criminals to access your device remotely – disconnect it from the Internet. Afterward, uninstall the remote access program used since scammers may not need your consent to reconnect. Lastly, use an anti-virus to run a full system scan and remove all detected threats.

If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support. And if your other private data has been compromised – contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "Adobe Invoice" spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Email includes an invoice for an Adobe product.
Disguise 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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Phishing spam campaign examples

"McAfee Has Successfully Renewed Your Membership", "Norton Subscription Renewal Confirmation", "Social Security Administrator", and "PayPal - Order Has Been Completed" are just some examples of spam emails promoting callback scams.

Various schemes are facilitated through spam, e.g., phishing, tech support, sextortion, refund, etc. Deceptive messages are also utilized in malware proliferation.

Spam mail is infamous for being riddled with errors, but it can also be competently disguised as messages from legitimate companies, service providers, institutions, organizations, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns are commonly used in malware distribution. These emails/messages can include malicious files as attachments or download links. Infectious files can be executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth.

Upon opening, a malicious file triggers the malware download/installation process. However, some formats can require additional interaction to initiate infection chains. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click on embedded files/links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

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

However, it must be stressed that spam mail is not the only method of malware proliferation. Therefore, we also advise being vigilant when browsing, as fake and malicious online content typically appears legitimate and harmless.

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

We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats and 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 "Adobe Invoice" spam email letter:

Adobe Systems

151 South Almaden Boulevard
San Jose, California
Invoice No. IQV3496835

Account No. EAL-XR1824
Invoice No. IQV3496835
Method DIRECT DEBIT from Bank Account
On 13th October 2023

INVOICE # IQV3496835
INVOICE DATE 10/12/2023

Invoice Total $312.49


Software License: FHS14-34792-D24FQ-PF24-
validity till 12th October 2024

AMOUNT 312.49

Customer Support 24X7
+1(877)997 9685

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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/messages are impersonal. This mail is distributed by the thousand.

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

If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. However, if the provided information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

I have allowed cyber criminals to remotely access my computer, what should I do?

If you have permitted scammers to access your device remotely – you must disconnect it from the Internet and remove the software that the criminals used (e.g., UltraViewer, TeamViewer, etc.). Afterward, perform a full system scan with an anti-virus and remove all detected threats.

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

No, merely reading an email is harmless. Systems are compromised 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 this if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). These formats may need additional actions to jumpstart malware download/installation processes (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, 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. It must be mentioned that performing a complete system scan is essential since high-end malware 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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