Today’s scam of the day is a common one. This one involves an email purporting to be from AOL, but similar types of scam email are sent by identity thieves posing as representatives of many other companies. The essence of the email is that the billing information that the company has is out of date and must be updated immediately or else you lose access to your account. This particular email, which is reproduced below appears pretty legitimate. It carries the AOL logo, which is not copied below, and is written in proper, grammatical English. It provides for a link for you to click on to provide the verifications necessary to update your account. DON’T CLICK ON THE LINK. If you click on the link you will either provide information that ends up making you a victim of identity theft or, even worse, unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of the personal information from your computer, such as your Social Security number, credit card number, passwords or bank information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft. This scam attempting to lure you into downloading malware or providing personal information by posing as a legitimate email is called phishing.
This particular email had a couple of major glaring flaws. The address of to whom it was being sent did not match the address of the person to whom it was sent. In addition, the salutation merely indicated, “Dear AOL User,” rather than an actual name. The simple way to respond to an email like this is to contact the company, in this case AOL, and inquire as to whether or not the email was legitimate. You will quickly learn that it is not. Never click on links or download material no matter how important it may seem so if you believe the email unless you are absolutely positive that the email is legitimate.