Today’s Scam of the day comes from my own email where today I received an email from someone whom I don’t know or recognize. The email came with the subject line indicating the name of the person purportedly sending the email and the words “shared ‘Review Paper’ with you” after the person’s name. The content of the email merely indicated again that the sender was sharing the PDF document with me and the PDF was attached. There was no further explanation. Curiosity killed the cat or at least caused the cat to become a victim of identity theft because clicking on the PDF attachment could lead to the downloading of a wide variety of possible malware including possibly ransomware or keystroke logging malware that would, in turn, lead to identity theft. Fortunately, in most instances merely clicking on the PDF would not download the malware. Instead by downloading the PDF you would see an external link. This should be another red flag that this is a scam because there is no possible legitimate purpose to send an unexplained link in a PDF attachment. If a legitimate sender wanted to send you a link, he or she would merely include it in the body of the email and not add the extra step of including it in a PDF to be downloaded. Clicking on the link in the email will download the threatening malware.
If you do not recognize the sender of an email such as this, there is a good chance that it is being sent through someone’s email account that has been hacked and made part of a botnet of zombie computers sending out malware infected emails. Never download anything or click on links in any email or text message unless you have absolutely confirmed that it is legitimate. The risk of malware is too great. And if you are not concerned about the risk of downloading malware because your computer or phone is protected with security software, it is important to remember that even the most up to date security software is at least a month behind the latest zero day defect malware for which there is no defense.
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