Avoid having your Standard Bank account stolen via fake "IT3(b) Policy" email

Also Known As: "Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy"?

After investigating the "Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy" email, we determined that it is fake. It is presented as a notification from South Africa's Standard Bank regarding an IT3(b) policy update. This spam mail aims to trick recipients into providing their online bank log-in credentials to a phishing website.

It must be reiterated that this email is fraudulent, and it is not associated with the actual Standard Bank Group Limited – a South African bank and financial services group.

Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy email spam campaign

"Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "Your IT3(b) Certificate has been Updated." (may vary) informs the recipient of a 2024 update to the IT3(b) policy. IT3(b) is a tax certificate issued by banking/financial service providers, which details earned interest and dividends from monetary investments. The letter instructs the recipient on how to review the update.

It must be stressed that the information provided by this email is false, and it is in no way associated with Standard Bank or any other legitimate entities.

This fake letter promotes a phishing website disguised as the Standard Bank sign-in page. Log-in credentials entered into this webpage will be recorded and sent to scammers, thus enabling them to steal the exposed banking accounts. Cyber criminals may then make fraudulent transactions and online purchases or carry out other nefarious deeds.

Victims of scam mail like "Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy" can 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 potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support. It might also be necessary to contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim IT3(b) policy updates
Disguise Standard Bank
Related Domains secure-auth-40c[.]com
Detection Names Combo Cleaner (Phishing), CRDF (Malicious), Emsisoft (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), Kaspersky (Phishing), Sophos (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address
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

We have investigated countless spam emails; "Confirm Bank Account", "SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Encryption", "Lack Of Mailbox Bandwidth", and "HSBC Transfer Request" are merely a few of our latest articles on phishing campaigns. Targeted information most commonly includes log-in credentials of various accounts, personally identifiable details, and finance-related data.

Recipients are deceived by using a variety of fake claims like policy/security updates, suspicious activity on accounts, subscription expiration/renewal, purchases, business inquiries, inheritances, lottery winnings, etc.

Spam emails are often riddled with errors; however, they can also be well-made and even competently disguised as content linked to genuine entities (e.g., service providers, corporations, companies, organizations, authorities, etc.).

Aside from scam endorsement, deceptive emails/messages are used to distribute malware. Therefore, we recommend approaching incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages with caution.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns are commonly used in malware proliferation. The emails/messages can have malicious files attached to or linked inside them. These files come in various formats, e.g., archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

All it can take to trigger a system infection is to open a virulent file. However, some formats require additional user interaction to jumpstart malware download/installation processes. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click embedded links or files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Incoming emails and other messages must be treated with care. Attachments or links found in dubious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be harmful or infectious. However, it must be mentioned that malware is not spread exclusively through spam mail.

Therefore, we also advise vigilance while browsing, as fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears genuine and harmless.

Another recommendation is to download only from official and trustworthy channels. Additionally, software must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.

It is key to device/user safety to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security programs must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove 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 "Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy" spam email letter:

Subject: Your IT3(b) Certificate has been Updated.

Dear Customer,

We have updated IT3(b) policy for the year 2024. Please click bellow to download the new Standard Bank IT3(b) tax certificate update.

New IT3(b) Certificate

How to open the tax certificate

To open the certificate, you need to have Adobe PDF reader installed. Then click the above New IT3(b) Certificate and follow the prompt.

Appearance of the "Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy" spam email (GIF):

Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy scam email appearance (GIF)

Screenshot of the fake Standard Bank sign-in page promoted by this spam email:

Standard Bank IT3(b) Policy scam email promoted phishing site

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:
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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 are not personal, even if they include details relevant to the recipients. This mail is distributed in massive operations – therefore, thousands of users receive identical (or incredibly similar) messages.

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

If you have provided your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. However, if you have disclosed other private data (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the corresponding authorities.

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

Systems are compromised when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked. Reading an email poses no infection threat.

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 – your device was infected. This might have been avoided if it was the document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, .one, etc.). Some formats may need extra interaction to begin malware download/installation (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 practically all known malware infections. It must be stressed that sophisticated malicious software typically hides deep within systems – hence, running a complete system scan is essential.

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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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