This is the 2nd email phishing scam email I’ve received this morning – and it is still mid-morning on the west coast of the U.S.

Note some of the oddities:

  • “middle East” instead of “Middle East” as we typically write it
  • “call immediately” – time pressure
  • “Call … to canceled your invoice” – bad grammar
  • “Invoice number: 0004” (just 4?)

Guaranteed that the phone number transfers to a scam service in India. Never click on links or attachments in emails, no matter how realistic they seem. Instead, log in to your account by typing in the URL and check recent activity. Do not call these phone numbers (unless you are a skilled anti-hacker.)

The other one I received said my Paypal account had been restricted (before the above!) and instructing me to open the attached fake .DOC fie for instructions. These sorts of attachments are spoofed code files (often a Windows .scr screensaver file type), with a spoofed .DOC or .PDF or .XLS icon image. Open it and malware is installed on your system that will start harvesting information – everything from open accounts in your browser (even those opened with 2FA since they can then bypass 2FA), to looking for files or even keystroke loggers to obtain accounts and passwords when you login.

The actual attached file is typically (but not always) many tens or hundreds of megabytes in size – made super big because huge email attachments are typically not scanned by anti-malware systems since doing so would be time consuming.

Never open emailed attachments – even from people you know unless they have told you they are sending you something. Their email account may have been hacked or their address is spoofed as the from account.

Do not respond to emails or telephone calls telling you to follow a link or to telephone them to fix something. These are classic fishing scams. If you call them, their goal is to gather personal information such as a credit card, to hire them to remotely fix things for you.