How to avoid falling for phishing attempts like "Alibaba" scam email

Also Known As: Alibaba phishing campaign
Damage level: Medium

What is "Alibaba" email scam?

We have determined that this email is a phishing attempt orchestrated by scammers. The fraudulent intent is to entice recipients to access a deceptive website and divulge personal information. The phishing email disguises itself as a communication from Alibaba, a legitimate Chinese multinational technology company known for its focus on e-commerce, retail, Internet, and technology.

Alibaba email scam

More about the "Alibaba" scam email

This phishing email, appearing to be from Alibaba, indicates an inquiry notification from an individual named Alexander Yates. The subject line, "Alibaba Inquiry Notification", suggests an urgent business matter. The email encourages the recipient to contact the buyer by clicking the "View Details" button.

It emphasizes the importance of timely and professional responses for enhanced communication and transaction opportunities. The message mentions an order sheet, product specifications, and a purchase order (PO). The email also includes contact information, creating a deceptive appearance to trick recipients into interacting with a fake website and providing sensitive information.

Upon opening the provided link via the "View Details" ("查看详情") button, a deceptive form appears, prompting the user to input their email address, password, and email password for signing in. Scammers misuse the information collected through deceptive forms by employing various fraudulent activities.

Once users enter their email addresses and passwords, scammers gain unauthorized access to their accounts, enabling them to exploit personal data and conduct identity theft. This can lead to unauthorized financial transactions, manipulation of sensitive information, or the compromise of other online accounts tied to the same credentials.

Furthermore, the obtained email passwords can be exploited for additional phishing attempts. Scammers might use compromised email accounts to send phishing emails to the victim's contacts, perpetuating the cycle of deception and potentially tricking others into divulging their sensitive information.

Overall, the misused information becomes a tool for scammers to conduct various illicit activities, compromising the privacy and security of the individuals targeted.

Threat Summary:
Name Alibaba Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Alexander Yates from United States has sent you an inquiry
Related Domain as19557[.]net
Detection Names (as19557[.]net) Avira (Malware), Combo Cleaner (Malware), ESET (Malware), G-Data (Malware), Sophos (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Disguise Notification from Alibaba
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

Emails of this kind commonly share characteristics such as urgent or enticing subject lines, requests for sensitive information, and deceptive tactics to mimic legitimate entities. They often create a sense of urgency, urging recipients to act quickly.

Additionally, these phishing emails typically contain hyperlinks or attachments that, when interacted with, lead to fake websites designed to harvest personal information or inject malicious software. Examples of similar fraudulent emails are "DHL Agreement Documents", "American Express - Unusual Spending Activities Detected", and "Payroll Sheet".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

To deliver malware via email, threat actors dispatch emails that appear authentic and urgent, convincing recipients to click on embedded links or download attachments. This interaction triggers the activation of malware, jeopardizing the security of the user's computer and leading to financial or other damages.

In email-based attacks, cybercriminals frequently leverage diverse file types, encompassing executable files (.exe), JavaScript files (.js), Microsoft Office documents (.doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx), ISO files, compressed files (.zip, .rar), among others.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments in unsolicited emails, particularly if they seem unexpected or pressure for immediate action. Ensure all software, including the operating system, antivirus programs, and applications, is regularly updated. Utilize reliable antivirus and anti-malware software for enhanced protection.

Additionally, steer clear of questionable websites and refrain from interacting with suspicious pop-ups, ads, "Download" buttons, notifications from dubious sites, etc. Obtain apps and files exclusively from official sites and authorized app stores, and never download pirated software or use cracking tools.

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 "Alibaba" email letter:

Subject: [Alibaba Inquiry Notification]
Alexander Yates from United States has sent you an inquiry
Trade Center    
重要提示 Notice
该买家隐藏了邮箱号码, 请勿直接回复该邮件! 您可以点击“View Details”联系到买家。
Email address of this buyer is hidden, please don't reply in email directly.  You may contact with this buyer via 'View Details'.
 Message Origin does not match Registered Location
[阿里巴巴提醒您] 及时、专业的回复有助于买家再次与您沟通,提升交易机会!
Jacky Lui    Alexander Yates     Alexander Yates
尊敬的 ******** ,

Hello ********

Thanks for your reply.
Here is our order sheet below to view our product specification and PO order, confirm the drawing of the product, See similar as attached image !
We want to make this order before 15th / March ..

Email Setting  |  Customer Services  |
Help center  |  My Alibaba

You received this email because you are registered on Alibaba.com

Read our  Privacy Policy and  Terms of Use

Alibaba.com Hong Kong Limited.

26/F Tower One, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Tel: (+852) 2215-5100



電話:(+852) 2215-5100

Fake website presented in this email:

Alibaba email scam phishing page

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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?

Fraudsters utilize widespread phishing emails, dispatching identical messages to thousands of recipients in an attempt to deceive someone into falling for their schemes. These phishing emails are devoid of personalization, strategically crafted to target a broad audience and exploit unsuspecting individuals.

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

Change your password, enable two-factor authentication if available, and monitor your account for any suspicious activities. Additionally, inform the relevant platform or service about the incident for further guidance and to enhance your account's security.

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

If the downloaded file was an executable, there is a higher chance of your computer being infected. However, if it was a document file like .pdf or .doc, simply opening it may not necessarily lead to an infection.

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

No, only opening an email poses no damage. System infections typically occur when clicking on links within the email or opening attached files.

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

Combo Cleaner is equipped to find and eliminate virtually all known malware infections. It is important to acknowledge that advanced malware tends to hide extensively within the system. Hence, it is important to perform a thorough full system scan to ensure detection and elimination.

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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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