How to avoid falling for scams like "Wells Fargo - Card Activity Verification"

Also Known As: Wells Fargo - Card Activity Verification phishing campaign
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Wells Fargo - Card Activity Verification"?

We have inspected this email and concluded that it is a scam email designed to trick recipients into disclosing personal information. The scammers behind this phishing campaign pretend to be representatives of Wells Fargo, a legitimate financial services company. Recipients should be careful with such emails to avoid potential harm.

Wells Fargo - Card Activity Verification email spam campaign

More about the "Wells Fargo - Card Activity Verification" scam email

This phishing email claims to be a notification regarding identity verification. It alerts the recipient of recent activity on their card account and states that access to the account has been blocked. In order to unlock the account, the recipient is instructed to click on a link ("Sign on to unlock your card and account") provided in the email.

The link provided in the email directs recipients to a fake Wells Fargo sign-in page, where they are instructed to enter their username and password. Entered login credentials are sent to scammers and can be misused for malicious purposes. For instance, scammers may access the victim's bank account to make unauthorized transactions or steal money.

Scammers may also use the stolen credentials to access other accounts, such as email or social media accounts, or sell them on the dark web. Overall, the misuse of login credentials obtained through the fake Wells Fargo page can result in financial loss, identity theft, and compromised security for the victim.

Thus, it is strongly recommended to examine emails before opening links (or attachments) and providing any personal information.

Threat Summary:
Name Wells Fargo - Card Activity Verification Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Access to a credit card and bank account has been blocked
Disguise Notification from Wells Fargo
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

Usually, emails of this kind impersonate reputable organizations, companies, or other entities and use official logos and other elements. They often claim that recipients must act quickly to secure their accounts, verify their identities, or perform other tasks. As a rule, such emails contain links or attachments that lead recipients to fraudulent websites designed to steal sensitive information.

It is important to note that cybercriminals can use such emails to distribute malware. Some examples of emails similar to the one described in our article are "Citrix Attachments", "Outlook - Someone Logged Into Your Mail Account", and "Wells Fargo - Direct Deposit".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Emails intended to deliver malware include harmful links or attachments. Clicking on these links can direct recipients to websites designed to either initiate automatic downloads or persuade them to download malicious files (or programs).

Opening attachments can trigger immediate infection or infiltrate malware through subsequent actions. It depends on the file type. For instance, executable files can inject malware upon opening, while malicious MS Word documents may require users to enable editing or content (macros commands) before initiating an attack.

How to avoid installation of malware?

When downloading software and files, stick to official websites and app stores. Avoid clicking on advertisements, pop-ups, or buttons on suspicious websites, and do not allow shady sites to send notifications. Refrain from opening attachments or links in unexpected or irrelevant emails (or messages) from unknown/unfamiliar senders.

Keep your operating system, installed applications, and security tools up to date, and utilize reputable security software. Additionally, perform regular scans on your computer to detect and remove any potential threats. 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 "Wells Fargo - Card Activity Verification" email letter:

Subject: identity verification

Online Access ALERT
Monday, May 1, 2023

We would like to verify some recent activity on your card account. To help protect your
account(s) from unauthorized transactions, we have blocked access to your card and account.
This restriction will remain in effect until you Sign On to your account and verify your identity.

To access your accounts, please log in to your account from link below
Sign on to unlock your card and account

WellsFargo Client Services

The fake Wells Fargo sign-in page used in this scam campaign:

Wells Fargo - Card Activity Verification 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?

Scammers send phishing emails to numerous addresses without singling out specific individuals. In other words, these emails are not personal (in most cases).

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

Change the password for your Wells Fargo account and any other accounts that may use the same or similar passwords. Also, notify Wells Fargo immediately about the incident.

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

It depends on the type of the opened file. Executable files present a higher risk, while document files like PDFs or Word documents typically require additional user actions, such as enabling macro commands, to become a threat.

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

Malware can infiltrate systems via malicious attachments or links. Thus, merely reading emails without engaging with these components is safe.

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

Combo Cleaner can detect and remove almost all known malware. If a computer is infected with advanced malware, running a full system scan is required to eliminate it. Typically, malware of this kind hides deep in compromised 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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