Scam of the day – July 6, 2014 – Another AOL phishing scam

Millions of people still use AOL and so scammers and identity thieves often send out phishing emails that appear to come from AOL, such as the one reproduced below.  The logo and format of this particular email that is presently circulating is quite poor.  Compare it to the excellent counterfeit phishing email I included in the Scam of the Day for May 31, 2014.  This one comes from an email address that has no relation to the company, AOL.  It does not contain any logo and it is not directed to the recipient specifically by name.  Like many similar scams, this one works by luring you into clicking on a link in the email in order to resolve an problem.  However, if you click on the link, one of two things will happen.  You either will be prompted to provide information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft or by clicking on the link you will unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of the information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.   Here is how the email appears.  DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK:

“Dear User,

Verify, to update your Premium Acc today

Service Team.

America Online”


There are numerous reasons not to trust this email.  The email address from which it was sent has no relation to AOL.  It is not addressed to you personally.  It does not contain an AOL logo and the email is far too short and curt.  It is an obvious phishing email and its only purpose is to lure you into either providing personal information or downloading malware.  As I have warned you many times, never click on links or download attachments unless you are absolutely sure that the email is legitimate.  In this case, if you even had a slight thought that it might be legitimate, all you would have to do is to call the real AOL to learn that this was a phishing scam.

Scam of the day – January 7, 2014 – Latest AOL scam

Phishing scams often take the form of emails that you receive that appear to be legitimate and require you to click on a link contained in the email for various reasons which also may appear legitimate.  However, in the case of phishing emails, if you click on the link, you will only succeed in doing one of two things, both of which are bad.  In one type of email, you will be taken to another page where you will be prompted to provide personal information which will then be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  The second bad thing that can happen if you click on a link in a phishing email is that by clicking on the link, you will unwittingly download keystroke logging malware that can steal all of the information from your computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet or other device and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.

Here is a phishing email that is presently being sent that purports to be from America Online (AOL), but it is not.  It is a phishing scam.  DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK.


Your two incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our database,
In order to receive the messages Click here to login and wait for responds from Aol Team.
We apologies for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
Regards, Aol Team.


There are a couple of telltale signs that this is a scam.  People receiving this email do not have their name appear in the salutation and if you click on the details section of your email, you will see that the email did not come from AOL, but instead came from a botnet which is a network of zombie computers taken over by hackers to spread this type of material.  Check the archives of Scamicide or “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” for more information about botnets.

In any event, as I have told you many times, even if you think the email is legitimate, you should never click on a link in an email unless you are absolutely sure that it is, in fact, legitimate.  Because you can never be sure who is actually sending you an email, if you are an AOL subscriber who has the slightest thought that this email might be legitimate, call AOL at a customer service number that you know is accurate to confirm that it is merely a scam.

Scam of the day – September 27, 2012 – Phony AOL virus scam

Many AOL users have been reporting the following scam email reproduced below that is appearing in their email box.  It carries a subject line of “Admin Service Solution” and it describes a virus as having been detected in the email of the person receiving the message, however it is a scam.  There is no such virus and if you click on the link contained in the email, you will end up downloading keystroke logging malware that will steal all of the information from your computer, laptop or smartphone and make you a victim of identity theft.  This is an example of the scam known as phishing where you are lured into clicking on a link that purports to connect you to something you need or trust when the truth is that it is a scam.  This scam is pretty amateurish.  The email address from which the email is sent is an address that has nothing to do with AOL security, which is a dead giveaway that it is a scam.  Also, the email does not contain the logo of AOL.  Here is a copy of the email.  DO NOT CLICK WHERE IT INDICATES LOGIN HERE.

“A QN6137 Virus has been detected in your folders. Login Here to Switch to the new Secure QN6137 anti virus 2013.

Thank you for choosing our service.

America Online”
Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  Always consider how legitimate an email appears before you even considering responding to it.  Also check the email address from which it was sent.  It was obvious in this case that the email was sent by someone who had nothing to do with AOL.  Even if the email appears to be legitimate, never click on any link unless you have confirmed that the email is genuine.  In this case, an email or a call to AOL would have told you that it was a scam.  Finally, make sure that you have anti-virus security software and anti-malware on your computer, laptop and smartphone and that you keep these security software programs up to the date with the latest patches.

Scam of the day – January 7, 2013 – Most dangerous websites

Phishing is the name of the scam whereby you are lured to a phony website that appears to be legitimate, however when you click on links in these phony websites, download material from these websites or provide information to these websites, you put yourself in danger of identity theft or of downloading dangerous keystroke logging malware that can steal all of the information on your computer including credit card numbers, your Social Security number, passwords and various account information.  In addition, you may unwittingly have your computer taken over as a part of a botnet (for more information about botnets, check out other postings on or in “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age”) whereby your computer is made part of the botnet circulating scams around the world.


Recently Trend Micro issued a list of the most common websites that were the subjects of phony phishing websites during the past month.  The top ten websites of which you should be particularly wary of to make sure that you are dealing with the legitimate company are:  PayPal, Wells Fargo, Visa, Citibank, Bank of America, Aol, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and Mastercard.  Things to look out for to avoid phishing websites are when you are directed to a website through an email that does not refer to you by name or if the email contains spelling errors or poor grammar that may indicate the email is coming from a foreign scammer (or a poorly educated American scammer).  A good rule to follow is to not click on links in emails or text messages to go to a website.  If you consider the email or message worth following up on, go to the website of the legitimate company by typing the URL that you know is correct into your browser.