This scam targets Hotmail account holders, but similar scams are run on every other major email service. The aim is to make you alarmed by this warning message and therefore reply with your information before taking time to realize it’s a scam.
Why this scam is so concerning:
If you are fooled by this scam and reply to ‘mightyshine’, you may have everything in your email account, address book, calendars, and more, stolen. If you store passwords in email, they will be compromised. If you receive email from your financial institutions that information is compromised. And so on.
Additionally, you will also have exposed all the people in your address book, as well as any others who have sent you email that you kept. These friends, family members and acquaintances will be prime targets for the second wave of scams – the ones that look like they come from you and so the victims fall for them because of their trust in you.
A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. It is not only your responsibility to learn to spot scams to protect yourself and others; your safety requires that those you interact with are also able to spot the scams. Once you know how, teach others.
Test Your Skills
You should be able to find at least ten red flags that tell you this e-mail is fraudulent. Click on the picture below to see the answers, but try to find them yourself, first. If you find ten, you’re a pro with little to worry about. If you find fewer than eight, consider practicing on some more of our spam scam examples
Here are the clues that this is a scam:
- The email sender’s address is firstname.lastname@example.org – which is clearly not the Hotmail team. Additionally, the To: line is blank – they do not know who you are.
- Urgent subject lines that threaten you if you don’t take action are scams.
- The logo block is fake. It is not in the Windows color palette, nor does it use the correct fonts.
- Just as the To: line is blank, the greeting “Dear Account User” shows that the sender does not know who you are. Hotmail knows the name you gave when you registered.
- It is riddled with grammatical errors.
- It is also riddled with capitalization and punctuation errors.
- This is so poorly written as to be funny – apparently, all Hotmail users are congested J. This paragraph, like the previous paragraph contains numerous errors.
- No legitimate company will ever ask you to provide this information in an email and Hotmail already knows this information:
- They store know your user name.
- They know your password (if they didn’t they could not authenticate you when you log in)
- They collected your date of birth when you registered.
- They know what country or territory you are in (your IP address tells them)
- You are told to follow instructions in ‘the sheet’ but there is no sheet.
- Even the final threat is riddled with errors ‘Account owner that refuses…’