Back to the well of scams that is my email box for today’s scam. I always am particularly happy to find scams in my email box which may sound a bit odd, but really is not when you consider that it lets me know what scams are presently appearing through email. If I am receiving the email, the chances are that so are you. Today’s email brought another phony email purporting to be from AOL telling me that “due to congestion” my AOL email account would be shut down unless I responded by clicking on a link provided in the email. Once again, as I have warned you about in the past, this is a typical identity theft scenario. You receive an email that appears to require your immediate response. However, if either you or I clicked on the link provided one of two things would have occurred; either the link would have taken us to a phishing site where we would have been asked for personal information that would have led to our becoming a victim of identity theft or merely by clicking on the link, we would have downloaded a keystroke logging malware program that would have stolen all of the personal information found on our computer’s hard drive such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers which would have resulted in our becoming an immediate victim of identity theft.
Anyone armed with the information found on this website and in my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” would have noticed a number of telling hints that this particular email is phony. The email address of the sender of the email is that of an invidivual person, not of AOL or anyone connected with AOL. This email address is undoubtedly the email address of someone whose email address was hacked and stolen by an identity thief who then made it a part of a botnet through which the identity theft scheme is widely distributed. You can find detailed information about what a botnet is and how it works elsewhere on this website/blog and in even more detail in my book. In fact, the email from which it was sent was not even an AOL address, but rather an Earthlink email address. It is hardly likely that AOL would be using Earthlink accounts to send out legitimate email message. As you can see below, the email that I received was directed to “Dear Aol user” rather than my name and in fact, when I clicked to see who else had received the same email, I saw that it was directed to many others, all of whom had their email address start with the same few letters as mine. Also, by clicking on “Internet details” at the top of the email, I was able to see that the email did not orginate at the email address from which it was sent. It is also likely that this particular email orginated outside of the United States because the grammar is poor which is one indication that the email is being sent by someone whose primary language is not English. Below you can find a copy of the exact email I received. The particular email I received also does not contain any logos typically found in an official AOL email. Offical AOL mail will have an AOL seal on the border of the email and will appear in a blue envelope in your email box.
Never click on emails such as this one. If you have any concerns that it might be legitimate, merely contact the real person or entity it purports to be sent by at an address or phone number that you know is accurate and you can confirm for yourself that it is a scam. Finally, always keep your firewall and computer security software up to date.
“Dear Aol User,
Due to congestion in all Aol Mail user accounts, there shall be a removal exercise of all used and unused Aol Accounts. Aol Inc would be shutting down several accounts.You will have to confirm your Aol account,
So you are required to logon to your Online Aol Account with the provided link Click here to login and wait for responds from Aol.
We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.