Avoid getting scammed by fake "AT&T" emails

Also Known As: "AT&T" refund scam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "AT&T"?

After reading the "AT&T" email, we determined that it is spam promoting a refund scam. It is presented as a confirmation of a service transfer to a different provider.

This mail lures recipients into communicating with scammers by claiming that the impending charge for the transfer can be canceled. Scams of this kind can operate in a variety of ways, all of which are linked to significant threats.

It must be emphasized that this email is fake, and it is not associated with the real AT&T Inc. or any other genuine companies.

AT&T email spam campaign

"AT&T" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "DSL Broadband Service Transfer to AT&T" (may vary) states that the service transfer request has been successfully processed. The recipient's home phone and Internet services will be provided by AT&T from the next billing cycle onwards.

The transfer fee – $389.00 – has already been charged and will appear in the bank statement within 48 hours. If the recipient wishes to cancel the transfer, the letter informs them that they can do so by calling the provided number.

As mentioned in the introduction, all the claims made by this email are false, and this mail is not associated with the actual AT&T Inc. or other legitimate service providers and entities.

This spam letter has all the hallmarks of a refund scam. These schemes use refund and similarly themed lures (e.g., chargeback, cancellation, etc.) to deceive victims into calling fake support lines. The fraud can take place entirely over the phone.

While on call, scammers (who pretend to be support) can trick users into disclosing sensitive information, transferring money, downloading/installing software (like malware), etc.

Targeted data can include: log-in credentials (e.g., emails, social media, e-commerce, cryptowallets, online banking, etc.), personally identifiable details (e.g., name, age, gender, nationality, marital status, occupation, home and work addresses, contact info, etc.), and finance-related data (e.g., banking account details, credit/debit card numbers, etc.).

However, refund schemes often share traits with technical support scams. These involve the cyber criminals requesting remote access to victims' devices. Connection is typically established using legitimate remote access software like UltraViewer, TeamViewer, or others.

The scammers "aid" with the refund process, which involves users accessing their online bank accounts. The criminals then either darken the device's screen or overlay it with an image (by utilizing the remote access program features) and ask victims to enter the refund amount.

Meanwhile, the scammers either change the bank page's HTML code or move funds between accounts (e.g., from saving to checking). When their screen is made visible to victims, the fake support claim that a mistake was made while entering the amount.

It must be stressed that none of the actions taken by the cyber criminals actually affect the funds in the bank account. The scammers beg their victims to return the nonexistent excess. Naturally, as no amount was sent to them – by "returning" the money, victims are essentially giving their own funds to criminals.

Difficult-to-trace methods are used for this purpose, such as cryptocurrencies, gift cards, cash hidden in innocent-looking packages and shipped, etc. These methods lower the chances of the scammers being prosecuted and victims recovering their funds.

When connected to systems, cyber criminals can also remove genuine security tools, install fake anti-viruses, or infect the device with malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.).

To summarize, victims of spam mail like "AT&T" can experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you believe that your device is already infected – run a full system scan with an anti-virus and immediately eliminate all detected threats.

If you have provided your log-in credentials to scammers – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support. And if you've disclosed personally identifiable or finance-related data (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – contact the appropriate authorities without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "AT&T" refund scam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient has been charged $389.00 for a service transfer to a different provider.
Disguise AT&T Inc.
Support Scammer Phone Number +1(860)3282433
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 spam campaign examples

"Chase Bank Invoice", "Apple Security Releases", "Adobe Invoice", and "McAfee Has Successfully Renewed Your Membership" are just some of our newest articles on emails promoting refund scams.

Various schemes are facilitated through spam mail, including tech support, phishing, inheritance, lottery, advance fee, sextortion, and so forth. These emails are also used to proliferate malware.

While the commonly held belief that this mail is full of grammatical/spelling errors is not untrue, it is not always the case. Spam emails can be competently made and even believably disguised as messages from genuine service providers, companies, organizations, institutions, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails/messages can include virulent files as attachments or download links. Malicious files come in various formats, e.g., documents (PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Once such a file is opened – the malware download/installation process is initiated. However, some formats require extra actions to trigger 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 links or files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly advise caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages. Therefore, do not open attachments or links present in suspect/irrelevant mail, as they can be harmful or infectious.

However, malware is not spread exclusively through spam mail. Hence, be vigilant while browsing, as fraudulent and malicious online content typically appears innocuous.

Additionally, download only from official and verified sources. Activate and update software using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal product activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.

It is paramount for device integrity and user safety to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security programs must be used to run 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 "AT&T" spam email letter:

Subject: DSL Broadband Service Transfer to AT&T

Your request to transfer your DSL broadband services to AT&T has been successfully processed. Starting from the next billing cycle, your home phone and internet connection will be provided by AT&T. A transfer fee of $389.00 has been charged to your checking account and will be reflected on your bank statement within 48 hours.

If you wish to cancel this transfer, please contact us immediately .
Thank you,
Team AT&T

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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. Thousands of users receive identical (or incredibly similar) emails.

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

In case the provided data were log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support. However, if the disclosed information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, passport scans, credit card numbers, etc.) – contact relevant authorities without delay.

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

If you have permitted cyber criminals to access your device remotely, you must first disconnect it from the Internet. Then, uninstall the remote access software the criminals used (e.g., TeamViewer, UltraViewer, etc.), as they might not need your permission to reconnect. Lastly, perform a complete 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?

Reading an email poses no infection threat; 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 the system was infected might depend on the format of the opened file. Executables cause infections almost without fail upon being opened. While other formats, like documents (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.), may require additional user interactions to begin downloading/installing malware (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate most of the known malware infections. It must be stressed that performing a full system scan is crucial since high-end malicious programs usually 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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